Which isn’t to say her first goal wasn’t admirable, given what a Heifer can do for a family:
(Did you see my awesome segue there?)
And as a reminder, every dollar in the fundraiser is being doubled. That means if you give enough for a family to receive a heifer, you’re not just going to improve their life forever. You’re effectively donating enough for two heifers, which means you’re twice as awesome, and you’re doing twice as much good in the world.
Also, have I mentioned that if you donate, you can win cool prizes? I’m pretty sure I might have brought that up a couple times over the last month.
Ever since I started Worldbuilders (accidentally) back in 2008, my brethren and sistren authors have been amazing in their support of the charity. They boost my signal on social media. They write blogs in support of Heifer, and perform silly stretch goals. They donate critiques and cameo appearances.
And, of course, they send us books we can give away to donors.
Without getting all maudlin here, it’s meant a lot to me over the years.
A lot of times…. well… I feel like I’m not a very good author. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m good at putting words together. I’m good at telling stories. But I also know I’m kinda shit at doing those things on a consistent schedule.
To put it differently: I’m pretty good at writing, but I’m not very good at being a writer.
Despite this, I’ve met with a ridiculous amount of success. And that makes me feel like… well… it makes me feel like kind of an asshole. Because pretty much every other author I know is better at sitting down, producing text, and getting books out into the world than I am.
The fact that so many other authors come in and with this project…. It’s really kind. Authors whose books I love. Authors whose minds I admire and envy. Authors who consistantly do what I cannot. It’s so flattering that they would take time out of their busy lives to help.
And it’s more than flattering, really. And it makes me feel welcome. Like I’m really part of this community despite the fact that I only *barely* do enough to keep my union card.
Whatever their reasoning, I’m proud and excited that so many of them are willing to come and help out. This year we had over 40 different authors contributing to the fundraiser, donating well over 500 books.
(I’m horrified that I might have left someone’s name off the list. If I did leave your name off, I’m sorry. Please know that I still love you. I’m just so tired and frazzled at this point in the fundraiser. If it helps, know that I just now, in this final pass on the blog, saw that we’d left off Gaiman’s name. (I just added it.) So if anything, know that if we glitched on this list, you’re in the same brainspace I reserve for Neil, who I love and admire beyond all words.)
Some authors donated an entire series, so that a new reader would have everything they could want in one prize.
(Like Brent Weeks)
(Or Martha Wells)
(Or Kristen Britain)
A lot of our authors sent us a truly ridiculous number of books. We’re always happy to have a couple of books, especially because most authors who send us their books are going out and buying copies to send to us. Most folks are lucky to get a few author copies written into their publishing contracts, but those usually go to family and friends. What we get from authors is almost always above and beyond that.
We have shelves full of author donated books, and individual authors take up entire sections of our wall.
Like this shelf full of books from Brad Beaulieu.
Or this one full of cool stuff from Holly Black.
Or this practically-unknowable shelf of books from Paolo Baccigalupi.
If that wasn’t enough, some also sent rare, limited, or otherwise fancy editions that we’ve thrown into the lottery for you. We received ARCs, numbered editions, and books that have been out of print for a while. And a truly astonishing number of them to boot.
There are so many books that if I tried to show them all here, the blog would be twenty thousand words long, and… well… knowing me, I wouldn’t post it until 2018.
Support has been pouring in from all sides as people continue to donate and help spread the word. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the help you have given us…
Also, we’ve been adding new items to our prize lottery left and right. We’re currently giving away more than $185,000 dollars worth of geeky swag. So much stuff that if you donate $30, you have a 12% of winning something. We’re giving away thousands of books and games, a gaming table from Geek Chic, a cabin for two on the 2017 Joco Cruise, this beautiful Tak board from Wyrmwood games…
(I want it. So. Much.)
You know what else donating $30 dollars does? It buys a family honeybees….
This is Feliciana Martin, a small-scale coffee farmer. Her one-acre farm barely supported her and her daughter until she received the gift of honeybees from Heifer International in 2012. Since then, Feliciana has seen a noticeable increase in her coffee harvest every year. This isn’t really surprising, as improved pollination can increase crop yields in any farm by as much as 200-300%.
What’s more, Feliciana is now also able to collect and sell honey, providing her with additional income. As a bonus, coffee honey is believed to taste better than regular honey, so she is able to charge about 10 percent more.
(Additional note: Now I *really* want to try coffee honey.)
She collected 60 pounds of honey in the first six months and doubled the number of hives she owns. Then she trained some neighbors on the proper care of bees and gave them hives to start them on their own road to increased independence. This is called “Passing on the Gift.” All Heifer recipients take part it, and it’s a big piece of what makes Heifer’s work so amazing and long-lasting. The good Heifer does spreads through a community like a shockwave, spreading outward for generations…
Feliciana dreams of a better life for her daughter. Now, with more reliable income she can use for food, medicine, and schooling, that dream is a reality.
Except after I typed that dramatic little asterisky scene break there, I realized I’d just told you a lie….
The truth is, this year that’s not what happens if you donate thirty dollars. This year Worldbuilders has access to matching money. So if you give us $30, we’re going to double it and send $60 on to Heifer International.
So… yeah. This is your big chance, folks. Kick in some cash and know that you’re sending twice the awesome into the world….
Seriously. You can spare the time. It will improve your day.
Over the last couple weeks, whenever I started to feel tired, or beat down, I’d watch this video. Watching how excited these girls were at the thought of holding their online concert and raising money for Worldbuilders gave me a boost when I really needed it.
As time went on, I came to realize that I really *really* wanted to help make Charlotte and Maggie’s concert a success. I love that these girls want to change the world.
So I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and I donated to their page.
And *then* I decided to put my mouth where my mouth is, and when my throat recovered from my cold, Sarah and I sang a bunch of songs together on my livestream. And then, using their carefully detailed instructions, we added them to the playlist.
Then we sent out links to some of our our favorite geeky musician friends to see if they’d be willing to participate. And they added songs they’d already recorded to the playlist, and now we’re up to 50 videos in the online concert.
So now, at last, I’m reaching out to you.
I invite you to listen to these songs. I hope they bring you joy.
I invite you to record songs of your own and add them to the list. Don’t worry if your voice is not perfect. That’s not what this is about. (I feel I make that perfectly clear in my videos.)
Last week our fundraiser hit $1,000,000 unlocking one of our cooler stretch goals. Namely, Neil Gaiman reading whatever story raised the most money in our donation totals….
As you can see, it was close. Where the Wild Things Are and The Raven were neck and neck through the whole fundraiser, but The Raven pulled ahead at the very end.
He really went all out with his video, too. Well-met by candlight, Neil….
But this stretch goal isn’t the only way Neil participated this year. Though, I admit, the next bit was initiated quite some time ago…
Today I’d like to tell you a story about a book. Some of you might not have met it before. But to many of us here at Worldbuilders, it is an old, familiar friend….
It’s a book that has been with the fundraiser since the beginning….
2008: A Gift from Gaiman.
In 2008, on a whim, I decided to try raising money for Heifer International on my blog. Things quickly spiraled out of control as other authors pitched in, spreading the word and donating books for me to use as donation incentives.
The pinnacle of the coolness/madness came when Neil Gaiman mentioned us to his vast legion of readers. He also donated a rare, numbered, slipcased ARC of Stardust to the cause.
Unfortunately, mail was delayed because of the holidays, so we couldn’t use the book until….
2009: Stardust for the People.
So the second year of the fundraiser rolled around, and I had this book. This beautiful book. This beautiful, *rare* book.
I was still doing the fundraiser pretty much by myself then, and I was having a really hard time deciding how best to use it. I knew we could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars, but that didn’t seem right somehow.
Then something strange happened: the person who won the book gave it back to us. Their one stipulation is that we auction it off next year, so it would raise more money for Heifer. So….
2010: Stardust on the Auction Block.
Year 3 of Worldbuilders, we auctioned off all manner of things. And, as the previous winner requested, we put Gaiman’s Stardust ARC up on eBay too.
After some fierce bidding it sold for over $2500 to a lovely guy named Dan. There were many high-fives in Worldbuilders central. We were sad to see the book go, but $2500 bucks buys a lot of goats.
But when I e-mailed Dan to arrange shipping, he said he wanted to donate the book back to Worldbuilders.
I asked Dan if he was sure. He said he was sure. I asked Dan how he got to be so cool, and he said he was inspired by the story of how last year’s winner re-donated the book.
But most of the credit, he said, should go to his mom. She always made a point of donating to charity even though she never had a lot of money. Not only that, but she was a dyed-in-the-wool geek like the rest of us: she read fantasy and sci-fi, she played Infocom games…
From everything I’ve heard, she sounds like my kind of lady.
Dan told me she had passed away recently, and most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He told me she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible through Heifer.
His only stipulation was that we put the book back into the lottery next year, so anyone could win it….
2011: Stardust Full Circle.
Year Four of Worldbuilders, we put the ARC back into the lottery with much cheering. After picking the prizes, I called the winner, Maayan, to set up shipping (because you don’t want something like this to show up as a surprise on someone’s doorstep).
Maayan tells me no. She wants it back in the fundraiser. It’s sort of a thing now.
I thanked her kindly, and sent along a box of books as as “Thanks for being cool” present.
Then something weird happened….
2012: Stardust as Statistical Anomaly.
In 2012, we put Stardust back in the lottery again. Mostly because I like the idea of this amazingly cool prize being something anyone can win.
At the end of the fundraiser, we pick the prizes and when I’m told who the winner is, I give the assistant holding the papers a look loaded with grim, fatherly disapproval, telling them in the gentlest of terms that they’ve fucked up and are obviously using last year’s spreadsheets.
This is bizarre math, people. This is like Heart-of-Gold level improbability. Maayan had won again.
I called her. She was shocked, amused, and flustered. So we sent her the book.
And she sent us back a picture.
Here’s what she had to say:
I was really extremely surprised to win the Stardust ARC two years ago, because I don’t think I’ve ever won any kind of online contest before. I was actually sitting in a hot tub on a ski trip to Colorado when Pat called, and my friends got to watch me make the craziest faces while on the phone. A few weeks later, Neil Gaiman sent me a little card with a picture he had drawn in it, which was so nice of him.
When Pat called me this year to say that I had won again, I’m pretty sure my first words were, “No, I did not!” Surprised doesn’t begin to describe it. If I win again this year, I’m going to start to be suspicious of your randomization algorithm.
Worldbuilders is such a great fundraiser, and Heifer International is an outstanding organization. I’m thrilled to take part. Thank you to Pat Rothfuss for putting it together, and thank you to all of the authors and artists who donate the prizes! I’ve enjoyed reading the fruits of your generosity.
Then Maayan sent it back to us again.
Thanks so much, Maayan. We’re glad you at least got to touch the book that seemed so desperate to meet you.
2013: Stardust In the Lottery Again.
Year six of Worldbuilders, Stardust chose a new person to love. It chose Jennifer.
She was overjoyed, happy to have won it, and just as happy to return it.
That was the year we had a cool idea – we instituted a Library Card system for the Stardust ARC.
When I was a kid, every library book had one of these. Even now, all these years later, seeing one fills me with a strange joy.
Neil graciously agreed to sign the cards for us.
What’s more, we had all the previous winners sign the cards and pass them on after keeping one for themselves of course (Maayan got to keep two).
This way, if the winner chooses to return the book, they still get a memento of the experience: signed by all the people who have loved the book before them as well as the original donor, Neil Gaiman.
2014: Stardust Makes a New Friend
In 2014 Jeff’s name was drawn as the winner of the Stardust ARC. He donated it back again, and we sent him much love in return as well as his own signed Library Card.
The more we do this library card thing, the more I love it.
2015: Stardust Returns Again
Last year, Stardust went to a wonderful supporter named Don.
It was the first year Amanda called the winner. She had a great conversation with him, he told us to keep it, and we sent him a box of goodies. He has his library card, and we still have a beautiful, signed Stardust ARC.
This year’s winner will get their very own library card signed by Neil Gaiman and the other winners.
So, without further ado, allow me to add today’s book to the lottery.
A numbered ARC of Stardust in its own slipcase. Signed by Neil Gaiman.
Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.
Every $10 you donate gets you a chance to win. So if you donate enough for honeybees ($30) you get three chances to win. Donate enough for a goat along with the training and materials to care for it ($120) and you get twelve chances to win. Donate enough to provide clean water for a village ($300), you get 30 chances to win.
And, just to sweeten the pot, I’m personally putting some of my own horde of Neil Gaiman rarities into the lottery::
Two limited edition copies of The Sleeper and The Spindle by Neil Gaiman.
These books are incredibly rare. They’re Special Limited Bookstore Day Edition, printed and sold exclusively for California Bookstore Day in 2014. A select few bookstores had them to sell for the day, and I’ve managed to lay my hands on two copies, both of which we’re putting into the lottery.
It’s a beautiful, sweet short story about two princesses. It’s a great story to read to your kids, so donate $10 or more to enter the lottery and possibly win them.
This is a beautiful story, and seriously hard to come by. Most places, it goes for as much as $500. It’s printed on specially selected red-speckled paper with black and white illustrations and several color plates that were hand-set.
This one’s in the lottery too. So every $10 you donate on our fundraiser page gets you another chance to win it and all the other books we have in the lottery.
This is a screenplay Neil Gaiman wrote a long time ago. It’s an adaptation of the novel Good Omens which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett.
This thing is a true rarity. It is the First and Only Edition of this work, numbered 473 out of 500.
According to Neil Gaiman in his introduction, this screenplay was revived from “a dusty and cobwebbed place on my hard disk, where people never go.” It was never available for general sale, and hasn’t been read by many.
Donate $10 or more to the lottery, and it could be yours.
A complete set of The Absolute Sandman Volumes 1-5. Signed by Neil Gaiman.
I’m guessing most of you know about Sandman. It’s a comic series that finally convinced a lot of people (including me) that comics were a brilliant storytelling medium in their own right. That comics could be as marvelous and orchestral and clever as anything ever written by Shakespeare or Chaucer or Homer.
These are the Absolute editions of the entire Sandman series. The art has been retouched. And they’re collected into gorgeous, slipcased, hard-bound books.
Just calling these “books” doesn’t give the right impression. These are Tomes.
They’re incredibly beautiful, and very rare. We know we could make a lot off of them if we put them up for auction, but we want to offer them up in the lottery for anyone to win.
A completely different Stardust ARC. Signed by Neil Gaiman.
We got an email from Neil a week or so ago that simply asked “Would you like another Stardust ARC?”
Naturally we jumped at the idea. And it’s a true ARC, not the special limited edition hardcover version that keeps coming back to us.
This one has been signed, doodled, and inscribed by Neil himself. And it’s a Stardust ARC that you can win and then keep without feeling guilty for not returning it to us.
Please keep it? We’re a little worried that Neil might develop a complex if people donate this one back to us as well….
Don’t forget that Worldbuilders is matching all donations. So if you donate enough for a flock of chickens ($20) it becomes two flocks. $120 becomes two goats. $300 dollars becomes enough to give two communities clean water, along with tools, training, and management techniques to manage their water resources more effectively.
For every ten bucks you donate, you get a chance to win. Not just the books we’re showing here, but over 5,000 prizes donated by authors, fans, and publishers. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of books.
Not to mention, of course, our beloved Stardust ARC.
If it encourages you to donate more to increase your odds, that’s fine by me. There’s even more coming, and the final round of auctions are now officially live. Be sure to check those out, look around the lottery library, and and donate while you still can.
Hey folks, Worldbuilders Team here! Pat is currently out in Seattle for the Child’s Play dinner, but he asked us to hijack the blog and do another recap of what’s been going on in the fundraiser so far.
As we write this, we’re sitting at over $1.45 MILLION, something we never could’ve imagined before, and it’s significantly because of our matching money.
We’re so grateful for this matching money, because it means we’re able to do twice the good. Plus, it means every donation you make gets us closer to the next stretch goal twice as fast. If you donate $20, we get $40 closer.
We’re blowing by stretch goals, and you can see which ones we’ve hit and the ones we’re still hoping to hit right here. Every one of them is clickable, so click around to your heart’s content…
$100,000: Pat’s New Website Launches
$200,000: Heifer does Animal Cosplay
$300,000: Worldbuilders Happy Dances
$400,000: Seth Fishman hosts an Agent Q&A
$500,000: Shawn Speakman Reads as Gollum
$600,000: Myke Cole & Robert Bennett Cluck Carols
$800,000: Sherwood Smith hosts an Online Workshop
$900,000: Pat Pronounces Kingkiller Names
$1,000,000: Neil Gaiman Reads For Us
$1,100,000: Paul and Storm sing to Pat
$1,200,000: Anton Strout writes Kvothe D&D Fanfic
$1,300,000: Delilah S. Dawson & Sam Sykes Genderswap Fanfic
$1,400,000: William Alexander Kermits Midsummer Night
$1,500,000: Pat Writes a Rat Queens Story
$1,800,000: Oot Explains Advanced Chess
$2,000,000: Pat Rothfuss does a Q&A on Book 3
One of our personal favorites was our happy dances when we hit $300,000–mostly because we love doing happy dances.
We’ve all been dancing around the office pretty much ever since, mostly because we don’t have any reason to stop.
In addition to your donation pushing us closer to stretch goals, though, you’re also getting entries into the lottery. Every $10 you donate gets you just a little bit closer, and we have more than 5,400 individual prizes in the lottery now.
We just realized that. Guys, we have over 5,400 prizes!
As a reminder, a majority of the lottery and auction items aren’t being posted about here on Pat’s blog. Instead, Pat has let the Worldbuilders Team share a lot of that information on our website.
For example, last week we posted up literally THOUSANDS OF GAMES from Mayfair Games, Fantasy Flight, Wizards of the Coast, and Settlers of Catan, just to name a few. That was on top of all of the games we already had from Cheapass Games and Pathfinder.
The photos below show off the broad categories, but you can click on any of color images to check out the blog post and/or the section of the Lottery Library we’ve featured so far:
The black and white stuff is coming soon!
There’s already over $160,000 worth of prizes in the lottery, and a LOT more is going to be coming in this last week. Remember, if you want to know about ALL OF IT, check out the Worldbuilders Blog or the Lottery Library. Both of those will show you all of the coolness.
The last round of auctions are also going live tonight, so if you want one last opportunity to get your hands on some rare, limited, or otherwise specialty items, swing over to the eBay page and see if there’s anything you’re interested in.
Our deadline extension brings us through December 19th at 11;59pm PST, and now we’ve got enough time to show off everything else that’s coming. There’s a fair amount, including a story about a certain beloved book, so keep an eye out….
As I put the final polish on this blog, Worldbuilders has just passed 1.3 million dollars.
Donations were delightfully brisk over the weekend, despite the fact that we didn’t get any big news coverage or make any announcements. This warms my heart, as it lets me know y’all are out there helping to spread the word about the fundraiser.
(I love our logo.)
You may not know it, but that’s a really big deal to us. Our biggest challenge is getting the word out to new people.
The thing is… our charity game is really solid: We’re matching donations this year to the tune of a million dollars. That’s huge. We’ve got a bunch of cool sponsors offering up over $160,000 of books, games, and other geeky swag that we’re straight-up giving away to donors. Nobody else does that. And the folks we’re giving money to? Well, Heifer International is a charity so powerful and effective that I’ve heard a rumor that when the next Matrix patch comes through, they’re going to nerf it.
But the sad truth is this: none of that matters if people don’t hear about the fundraiser.
So I just wanted y’all to know how much I appreciate everyone coming together to make this a success. Thank you for donating and helping us make use of our matching money. Thank you for helping boost our signal. And of course a special thanks to all our sponsors for donating to make our donation lottery so amazing this year.
Together, we are a force to be reckoned with, and we’re making the world a better place.
And now, today’s big news:
* * *
I’m sure most of you have heard of Cards Against Humanity. Not only do they make one of the best party games out there, but they do a crazy amount of charity work, too. What’s more, Max Temkin and I have been known to hang out on occasion. And when we can’t do so physically, we do so auditorially, (by which I mean we do a podcast together.)
Anyway, if you hadn’t already guessed, here’s what we’re launching today:
And, if you haven’t already guessed, ALL the proceeds from the first two weeks of sales will go to Worldbuilders in support of Heifer International.
Now this alone would be enough reason for rejoicing. But what makes this year’s collaboration extra cool is that when you buy this pack from cards, we’re going to double that donation before passing it along to Heifer International.
That’s right. You buy those cards, and DOUBLE the money will be going to charity.
What does Heifer International do with that money? Well… this:
Did I mention that all donations are currently being doubled?
* * *
Here’s the second piece of news.
Since Cards Against Humanity is giving us the sales from the *entire* first two weeks of the Sci-fi pack, and since we’ve had a handful of other sponsors come in with last minute donations of books and games for us to give away in the lottery, and since we still have plenty of matching money left…. we’ve decided to extended the fundraiser one more week.
I thought this might be the year we might finish the fundraiser on initially scheduled date. But there’s just too much stuff coming in, and we need time to show it all off to you.
So. There you go. The fundraiser will now be ending on the 19th of December.
This news has been a long time coming, and it hasn’t been easy to keep under my hat.
I’ve already done a Q&A about it over on my twitch stream, and I’ll write about it here in the blog in the future. But for now just let me say that my creative crush on Lin is of Whedonian proportions. I’m about as excited as a human being can possibly be.
(This excited. Plus ten.)
And if that weren’t enough to make this my best week ever, my books also got passing mentions from the Vlogbrothers and Nightvale. Which is a confluence of events that seems to imply I have gained a fairy godmother or access to a genie. It’s odd, and feels a little bit like maybe god checked his ledgers, realized that someone had done the karmic equivalent of running over my cat, and is desperately trying to balance things out before the new year for tax reasons.
Anyway. It’s been a good week. And that’s not even taking into consideration that Worldbuilders raised (and then matched) another quarter million dollars this week. Which means as of right now, we’ve raised more than $1,100,000 for Heifer International.
That’s enough money to give 9000 families goats, along with the education, training, and tools to care for them.
Goats are awesome, because they’re hardy, easy to care for, and produce a gallon of milk a day. That milk is a valuable source of protein and calcium for children, and the excess milk is easily sold to provide household income so families can pay for school fees, clothes, and medicine.
You see, in most of the world, a goat isn’t just a source of food, it’s a small business. But more importantly, it gives birth to other small businesses.
So far, Worldbuilders has raised enough to give 55,000 families flocks of chickens ($20.) Enough to provide 3,600 communities with clean water ($300.)
And we’re not done. We still have some time left. And we have some cool new announcements today.
We still have matching money!
Once we hit $1,000,000, a lot of people thought that we were out of matching money.
We’re not. We’ve used up $555,000 of the million dollars we have available for matching. So rest assured, when you donate, your money is still getting doubled.
Return of the Widget!
I’m delighted to announce the return of the probability calculator widget. Powered by math from the fabulous Vi Hart.
As you know. (Or at least I hope you know.) Every $10 you donate to Worldbuilders gets you a chance to win thousands of books and games from our prize lottery. This widget is updated with the most up-to-date numbers so you can tell what your odds are of winning something, depending on how much you donate.
Odd Opportunities for Immortality
As faithful readers of the blog know, earlier in the fundraiser, a handful of awesome authors offered up cameos in upcoming books.
We’ve done this for several years at Worldbuilders, and my only regret is that we’ve always auctioned them off. It brings in good money, but it makes me feel bad that only folks with a lot of money to splash around get a chance to get their names or faces in upcoming books.
So last week when a more authors came forward to offer us walk-on roles in their books, we decided to try something new, a little experiment, if you will.
We’re making separate pages for each of these new cameos, if you go in and donate there, you’re still eligible for everything in the regular fundraiser. Your donation will be doubled. You’re eligible for all the prizes in the lottery.
AND you’re eligible to win the guest star appearance that’s detailed on that page.
This way, you have a chance at immortality even if you’re not made of money.
I’m really excited to offer these up, folks. I’m huge fans of all the works listed here.
It was recently announced that the awesome authors Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu are co-writing a new trilogy featuring a fan-favorite character of Cassandra Clare’s, Magnus Bane. The book is out in November of 2017, and they’ve offered to name a character after one of our lovely supporters.
They were happy to let us put this in the lottery for anyone who donates via their page, so that’s exactly what we’ve done. The more you donate, the better your chances, but even if you only have 10 bucks to spare, there’s still a chance.
Rat Queens have also stepped up to the plate. But this isn’t just going to be some little walk-on part. The fabulous Kurtis Wiebe is offering up the opportunity to be Killed by your favorite band of adventuring badasses: the Rat Queens themselves. They’ll draw you and your likeness in to the comic, and you’ll get super dead.
If you aren’t reading read Bitch Planet, you really should. I picked it up just last month, and it instantly become one of new favorites.
It imagines a world where women who don’t fit in with the patriarchal society’s standards for women are shipped away from earth and jailed on Bitch Planet for being “Non-Compliant.” That can involve anything from being a violent felon, to simply not speaking politely, using too much sarcasm, or being overweight.
This comic is smart, folks. It’s dark and sharp and full of clever humor. I love it with big love.
So I’m delighted to say that for every $10 you donate on their page will get you a chance to name an inmate and the infraction that caused them to be exiled. Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro will work with you to put this character into their world.
Matt Fraction is one of my top five comic writers of all time. And honestly? I think Sex Criminals is my favorite comic he’s currently working on.
And it’s hard for me. *ahem* Because it’s not exactly easy to go around recommending a comic called “Sex Criminals” to everyone you know.
The premise is this: In Sex Criminals, when Suzie and John have sex, time stops. Not in the cheesey way that people talk about sometimes. Literally, time stops. Then they do what any red-blooded American with sex superpowers would do: They rob banks.
Writer Matt Fraction and artist/maniac Chip Zdarsky assure you that, while very dirty, Sex Criminals is mostly sweet. And they’re offering you the chance to name your very own sex act in the series. Which is something I’m pretty sure everyone has wanted to do at some point in their lives. Or is it just me? (It can’t just be me, can it?)
Name Viari’s own personal intern in Acquisitions Inc
I talked to the folks at Acquisitions Inc, and they’re letting me raffle off the chance to name Viari’s own personal intern in a future game. You and I will work out your character’s name, as well as their character class. And then they’ll be an NPC in Acquisitions, Inc. They’ll fetch my coffee, update my day planner, and… well… probably die. Because… well… intern…
Revival is a FANTASTIC comic set in rural Wisconsin after a day when the dead come back to life. The main character, Dana Cypress, has ongoing investigations into the phenomenon, and the series has been running monthly since July 2012.
Of course there were extenuating circumstances. Last year we had unexpected access to matching money. That was a big motivator. We geeks love a power multiplier.
The result? We raised $200,000 that day.
So my team is expecting me to write a really great blog today. Something that will delight and inspire you. Something that will draw you in. Make you enthusiastic. Rile you up. Break your heart. (But in a good way.)
And I’ve been rooting around inside myself for it all night. Looking for that blog. Looking for something to say. And I just can’t find it.
I got nothing.
* * *
Part of the problem is that I can’t announce a big BIG one-day-only matching-money extravaganza! A tight timeline is compelling. Anyone who has ever backed a kickstarter knows a ticking clock can light a fire under the most reluctant of asses.
But here’s the problem. Last year, when Heifer gave us access to matching money, we impressed them. And while I was excited to raise that $200,000, I told them I felt bad springing it on my people halfway through the fundraiser.
“I feel like it abuses their trust a bit,” I explained. “What about the people that came in and donated early? They weren’t holding back. They didn’t wait to see if there was a better charity deal hiding around the corner. I just said to them, ‘Hey guys, come with us, and we’ll make the world a better place,’ and they did. But now some of them feel like they missed out on getting their donations doubled….”
I explained to Heifer that I didn’t think surprises were good in the long run. They work wonders in the moment, but next year people will worry if they donate early, they might miss out later….
“But if you give us money to match donations at the beginning of the fundraiser,” I told them. “I’d like the world on fire. My people would go crazy for that.”
But here’s the funny thing. They did. They gave us $1,000,000 of matching money.
And so we launched with it.
And you guys did go crazy for it. We’ve used $340,000 so far, and raised more than $680,000. It’s our best year ever…
But as a result, I have no surprises.
I have nothing shocking to unveil for you today.
But I *can* tell you a story.
* * *
This is Klang Savuth and Kid Moa:
(With their son Ky Damkoeung.)
In 2014, they were subsistence farmers, which means they grew just enough to feed themselves if things went well. They didn’t have a reliable source of income, so when they needed anything beyond the bare necessities, they had to borrow or beg.
In 2014, Heifer International gave Klang and Kid 20 chickens and some vegetable seeds. Then Heifer gave them the training and tools they needed to use them, because that’s what Heifer does.
Today, their flock has grown to over 200 birds. They used the profit from their chickens to buy a pig, and now they own 23 pigs. They’ve opened their own general store.
They have a beautiful garden that makes more than enough food to sustain them. And Klang continues to attend Heifer training courses and plans to buy more land. She wants to start a fish pond and build a biogas digester that will turn her animal’s waste into better fertilizer clean methane for light and cooking. They don’t have access to electricity.
And you know what? They’ve given 30 chickens to another family. They gave that family training and tools, too.
(Because that’s what Heifer International teaches people to do. They call it Passing On The Gift.)
In two and a half years, this family has gone from desperately poor to thriving. They’ve gone from needing help, to giving help.
Heifer International does this all over the world. Nobody is better at it.
* * *
Do you know how much it costs to give a family chickens?
Last week, the Worldbuilders team sat me down and told me that this is a bad year for charities. Fundraisers everywhere are running at all-time lows. They explained to me that with Brexit and the US election, the economy is uncertain. That makes people reluctant to donate money.
My team told me this very gently. And I know what they’re doing. They’re preparing me for the fact that maybe we might not use up all our matching money. More importantly, they’re preparing me for the fact that this year, for the first time in the history of Worldbuilders, our fundraiser might be *smaller* than the previous year.
And I’m not surprised. I don’t follow global economy stuff, but I know people. And I know that since the election, I have felt… devastated. Numb. I am worried for my country, and I am worried for my world.
Pretty much everyone I know feels this way. And many of my friends feel even worse. Less that a week ago, I had a nightmare about nuclear war. My first in 30 years.
This is part of why it’s hard for me to write to you today. How can I infect you with enthusiasm when I’m having trouble finding it myself?
For many of us, it is not easy to be hopeful right now. We hurt. And when we hurt, we curl in on ourselves. It’s natural. Instinctive. It’s an animal reaction to pain.
Charity is the opposite of this. Charity is an act of reaching out.
But where do we find the hope?
* * *
I don’t know how to fix the world. But look at this.
Look at him. Look at how happy he is. And you know why? He has clean water to drink.
Heifer International can give a whole town clean, accessible water.
Know how much it costs to give a community full of children clean water?
A lot of you have been leaving comments with your donations. These little stories keep me going. They are much-needed injections of hope in a time when I need to be reminded that people are good. I can’t thank you all enough for this, (and I hope you all win fabulous prizes in our lottery.)
Let me share a few. Here’s one from Josephine:
I just want to say THANK YOU PAT, for opening my eyes to how EASY it is to make a great difference in other people’s lives, even as a poor student, whose bank account is below 0 every month, just by giving just a little bit – I will forgo the Christmas shopping and instead do homemade gifts.
I’m broke. Like, really, really broke. But I have food and shelter, so some of my money is going to help someone else who needs help.
And there are some that make me smile a big, foolish, joyful smile, like Julia’s:
I am 10 years old and this is my first time donating to WorldBuilders. It is such a nice thing to do. I really wanted to use my own money to buy a family an animal.
I see see a lot of you feel the same way I do, like Paul:
Thanks for keeping positivity and hope in this world. The country is a little short on both right now.
Doubling what I had planned to donate because I’m frustrated with recent events and want to push back against the darkness. Thanks for being a force for good!
And people like Alyssa make me cry:
Yesterday I was reading The Name of the Wind from inside the adult ward of a mental health facility. Three days ago, I genuinely had no will to live. Today, my partner led me home, and we’re donating a goat to a family that will use it well. My heart is brimming with gratitude. Thank you, World builders, for giving us the opportunity to help. Thanks to Pat for the gift of your words.
* * *
I sometimes write about a girl. This girl is alone, living in darkness, working tirelessly to make the world better, one small piece at a time. The darkness constantly surrounds her. But she keeps working, even on bad days, and she always brings her own light.
She is braver than I am. And better. And she never gives up.