In some ways, I’m an optimist. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, a person doesn’t work on the same book for over a decade without a little glimmer of hope to keep them going.

But it’s more than that, really. I believe that the vast majority of people are good. Not just deep-down good, but good right up on the surface. That’s why I run these fundraisers. I think most people enjoy making the world a better place. All they need is an opportunity, and, occasionally, a little nudge.

But in other ways, I’m a pessimist. For example, I believe that most large corporate entities by their very nature tend to be malignant.

When I say malignant, I’m not saying that Global Corp is going to break into your house and kill you while you sleep. But they will make your pillow out of a fire-retardant chemical that makes you breathe toluene all night. Because they can be sued by a smoker who lights their own pillow on fire, but not by someone who gets cancer when they’re sixty.

What’s my point? Well, my point is that when my account got flagged by Paypal a couple of days ago, I really didn’t have much hope of being able to straighten things out with them.

In fact, I was ready to be all indignant about it. I’ve had a Paypal account since 2001, and I felt a little betrayed. I had all sorts of scathing things I was going to say. Names I was going to call them. Mud I was going to fling. How dare they take a crap on my fundraiser? Especially when it was going so well…

Despite this pessimism, I e-mailed them to straighten things out. I tried to work within the system. I talked to them on the phone.

So imagine my surprise when they were really nice. And today, all the limitations were lifted from my Paypal account. I really wasn’t expecting things to work out so quickly and easily.

The purpose of this blog is twofold.

First, I just wanted to say thanks to Paypal. You guys impressed me.

The second is to update everyone on the status of the name raffle fundraiser thing.

Things are going amazingly well. So far we’ve got about 150 people donating, and we’ve raised over 8000 dollars. Way better than I ever expected.

Because I’m drawing two winners, that means if you buy a ticket, you’ve got about a 1 in 400 chance of winning.

If you donate 50 bucks, which gets you 6 tickets, you’ve got about a 1 in 70 chance.

That beats the hell out of most lotteries, you have to admit. Besides, and all the money is going to a great cause.

(How can you not want be a part of this?)

I’m hoping we can finish strong on this. We lost a few days because of the Paypal thing, but if people help spread the word I think we can make up for it.

And one more time, here’s the link to the blog with all the raffle details and the now-functional online donation buttons.

And lastly, if you’re thinking of donating online. You might want to strike now while the iron is hot. A lot of Paypal’s system is automated, and there’s an outside chance it might flag my account again in a week or so. It would be shame if you missed your chance to donate because of that…

Frabjously yours,


This entry was posted in Heifer International, musingsBy Pat45 Responses


  1. An Albino Druid
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 7:02 AM | Permalink

    This is fantastic, Pat! I am hoping to catch a break and have a total of 50 dollars or more to spare before the end of the week. One question, though:

    I know that, if we pay, the names not first picked are then put into a lottery with everyone else (including freebies). But can we give you our donation AND fill out a single freebie form?

  2. An Albino Druid
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

    (not to sound like I am only doing this for the prize, of course! I am very happy just to take part!)

  3. Anonymous
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    Short answer Mr. Albino, no. Long answer, you are automatically entered into the freebie with your real money ticket and still, no. Hope this helps. :)

  4. Anonymous
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 7:09 AM | Permalink

    oh and so no one thinks I’m hiding, I don’t have a google account so ya’ll can refer to me as “Mr.” Behrs4HumanRights. :)

  5. Tyson
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

    I’m not surprised you were able to work it out with PP. I worked for eBay (who owns PayPal) for several years, and those PP guys aren’t all evil.

  6. Steffi
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    I usually don’t enter my name into raffles but I couldn’t resist this one. I’m a poor student, but luckily the USD is in our favor at the moment so I went for the “donating money” button. Good luck with this! 8,000 Dollars is amazing!

  7. kazshero
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    Yay! I don’t get paid until Friday so I’m delighted paypal is back up and running!

    I missed out on the WoT fundraiser last year similar to this and would kick myself if I missed this one too.

  8. K. L. Howard
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    I expect any customer service worker to be nice. If they didn’t play well with customers, companies wouldn’t hire them.

  9. LilMrsH
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    Okay, so obviously someone has totally outgenroused me and I’ll be needing to make another donation . . . If I win, can we not tell my husband how much money I spent on entries? :D

  10. LilMrsH
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 1:05 PM | Permalink


    (now I’m misspelling made up words, sigh*)

  11. jrive
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    Great to hear about PayPal Pat!

    Also, since I’m yet to comment on your blog ever, I feel like I should point out that your book was fantastic – my favorite fantasy book. And if it takes forever to write a book that well… well I can patiently wait forever for number two.

    Now my real question, about the future fundraiser: is there a way that I can make my own Heifer donation page in order to raise my own money, but still get credit for it in your contest? I’m a college student who was lucky enough to stumble into a scholarship, and now I feel like asking for Christmas money is just a little greedy, so I was just planning on having all my Xmas gifts this year be donations to Heifer.

    We’re reasonable people, this should work out somehow right? ;)

  12. Nate Sharpe
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    I’ve already entered and have actually donated to Heifer in the past, but thought I’d share this article:
    for those who are interested in another viewpoint on Heifer. And to Pat, personally I would enjoy the opportunity to switch up the charity being sponsored through these contests, to things like water aid (

  13. Pat
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

    Nate: Not only is your article several years old, but the author of the article works for a different charity and urges people to donate to HIS at the end of his article. Not exactly unbiased journalism.

    Most importantly, you’ll notice that the article mentions several charities, but not Heifer. That’s because Heifer only brings animals into an area that can support them. They work for long-term sustainable agriculture. And they do work in much more of the world than just Africa.

    You might have charities you like better. That’s cool. Donate to them. But I’m happy with Heifer. I’ve picked my horse, even though in this case, that horse happens to be a goat.

  14. Julie Murphy
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 2:58 PM | Permalink


    If I donate $50 can I split my 6 entries between my husband’s name and my daughter’s name?


  15. Anonymous
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    How about finishing the book. This seems like a waste of time for you to be bothering with while your fans listen to excuses. Donate the 8000 dollars to the cause yourself using the money you’ve made on the book. I’m sure I’ll read book 2 sometime but I am no longer anxiously awaiting it.

  16. Teri
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    Wow, that last comment was really uncharitable. Very surprising to read that here. In contrast to that, I think that using your superpowers for good is just as important as writing awesome fantasy novels. The process of writing and editing is pretty complex. I’m struggling with my own first effort now, and even though I LOVE it, I know it is impossible to spend every minute of every day working on it. There just aren’t enough brain cells in the noggin for that. So keep up ALL the good work, Pat!

  17. Black Badger
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    Hey Pat,
    You’ve convinced me to donate and take a shot at being a part of the second book. But when I went to paypal and gave my credit card number to all the eastern europeans with spyware on my computer I never saw an area to fill in my name suggestion, etc. If I were lucky enough to be drawn would you contact me directly or would you just assume I was dumb? This question is not just for me but for anyone who may have been unfortunate enough to have acted dumbly in this scenario. I can’t tell you ho great this opportunity is and how anxious we all are to get the next book in our grubby little hands. All the best.

  18. Martin Seeger
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,

    you wrote

    For example, I believe that most large corporate entities by their very nature tend to be malignant.

    I do not believe being corporations being malignant. IMHO it’a term to decribe persons (or cancers).

    It may be that an evil/malign person may raise easier in a big corporation (than a good one) and influence a lot of decision in a negative way. But this still requires such a person with such an intent. It’s not in the nature of a company.

    CU, Martin

  19. Anonymous
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    Well, that comment by anonymous (the “uncharitable” one) was very mean! What a dick weed. sure, I can’t wait to read your next book but I think that your generosity speaks volumes about the type of man you are.

    All the best,


  20. Shavron
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    To Mr Anonymous who posted about just finishing book two:
    Don’t be such a douche.

    Pat is encouraging us to help out loads of people less fortunate than us and you’re concerned about a novel? Don’t get me wrong, I’m eager in anticipation for it and want to consume the book right this instance, but there are more important things in life. And if you’ve read the archives you will notice several things:

    1. Last year Pat donated a hell of a lot of money himself to this charity.
    2. Last year Sarah did a lot of the helping with the charity as well, freeing up Pat to do some of the work on Wise Man’s Fear (granted she probably has her hands full this year).
    3. This is something he promised us over six months ago as an apology for the delay in book two. He could be like a great majority of writers and say “Sorry the book is taking so long.” and leave it at that. Pat is giving us a chance to BE IN THE BOOK! How awesome is that?
    4. In May a draft of the manuscript was sent out to editors and/or agents. This is a positive sign that things are getting closer to finished.
    5. The fact that this charity is tied to a characters name in the book (a very minor thing, even if Pat says they are important) suggests that some of the greater details have been worked out. Keep in mind this is strictly speculation, but still I would guess that once the changes for this character have been made there is a chance that the book will be pretty close to done.

    So to some things up, don’t be a douche.

  21. Amanda
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Anonymous:

    First, see above comment. Pretty much sums it up.

    Also, learn to stand behind the things you say, especially when critical of someone, and put your name. Then we don’t have to clutter Pat’s blog post with our calm, reasonable responses to your incredibly insensitive dung, and leave them on your own Blogger or email. Or at least can stop calling you “Mr. Anonymous.”

    And Pat:

    I’ve got abut $25 to spare at the moment (not exactly true… more like I’m about $400 in the hole but have $25 that could go toward that but won’t for now) but as soon as there’s more, I’m going to donate to the cause too. I actually don’t really want my name in the book, nor do I think I have a cool idea for a name, so if I win by some kind of magic, I’d probably just leave it up to you. Or maybe make you sneak me into the acknowledgments ;)

  22. BKLounge22
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    Not sure if you can do this or not, but I feel like you should be able to do most things since it is your blog —

    I think that you should rename the poster above to “rapacious fuckwit” or something similarly creative and disparaging. May as well properly attribute such comments to their source. Anonymous is far too bland, although damning in its own way.

    I’m reminded of your old post about the 100 great comments/emails and the one steaming turd…

  23. Adee
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    Wait…should I try lighting my pillow on fire to make sure there’s no toluene in it?

  24. Nate Sharpe
    Posted October 27, 2009 at 11:54 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply! Started saving already for the big Heifer Fundraiser coming up. Out of curiosity, how do you decide how to allocate all of the donated money to Heifer, or does it all go as a lump sum to the charity? As in, do you say to them, “Here’s $10,000. I want 3 heifers, 1 milk menagerie, a couple honey bees, 4 goats, a pig, and 2 flocks of geese.”?

  25. Anonymous
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 3:46 AM | Permalink

    It may as well be done.

    1) Your charity cause is a good one, and for what it is worth you turned me on to it in a previous post. Since I wasn’t sure if or when you would have another drive, I went ahead and donated directly. I really appreciated being exposed to a charity that really does make a person feel like they are making a tangible impact for the better.

    2) I am not going to be the “piece of shit” in your cereal, but posts like that anonymous one going on about the book are only going to increase as the delay in book 2 continues. This saddens me because it seems all too familiar to George RR Martin’s dilemma at the moment (including the overly defensive fans sucking up and responding for you).

    I sincerely hope for your own emotional stability that you don’t take these things too personally and/or find a way to handle the situation differently than Martin’s approach (or lack thereof).

    In any case, the real point is the charity. You are doing something very good and touching many lives on various levels.

    Keep your head up Patrick, and thank you for your contributions in literature, charities, and in raising a kid (I have no doubts your family will produce the kind of people that improve the world rather than detract from it).

  26. Sarah
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    I’m glad someone called anonymous a douche before me. Because that is what popped into my head.

    I also, in my wisdom, donated without filling in my details. I donated again to get the entry, and figured the other is a crap shoot.

  27. Aaces
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    I am happy for you Pat, but I can just about guarantee that PayPal turned an about face because you are an international best seller. They knew you, more than the average Joe, could have done them some harm publicly. Many, many people I have met on the internet have had horrible experiences when PP thought their rules had been broken. I can’t right off think of anyone that ended up with results such as yours. I’m happy for you because what you are doing is very worthwhile and if I were you, I would be thanking PP. However, don’t for a second think it would have turned out in your favor had you not been you.

  28. Brian Igelchen
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    Quick question that hopefully any one of you can answer.

    Where do you put the information if you’re filling out through paypal?

  29. wirelessrobin
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    I love you…. Not only is your book the epitome of awesomeness (just started it again last night) but since starting to read your blog I’ve found that you are an amazing person too. Humorous, insightful, and wry… I’m not the type of person who would ever care to meet a “celebrity” but you are one that I would love to meet and have a chat with. I look forward to your posts and am glad I have you on FB so I know when a new one is posted!!!

    Lots of Love!!

  30. Vae
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    “Frabjously”…. only you Pat… awesome

  31. Alex
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for bringing this charity to my attention. I’d heard about it, but took a serious look because of this blog. I just donated 8.33333 sheep! I hope they’re extra-fluffy ones…

  32. Anonymous
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 6:10 PM | Permalink

    Hello all, I’m the above mentioned “douche” “fuckwit” whatever. I left myself Anonymous because I did not want to bother registering for yet another website. My name is Chris and I am female, this may help in further name calling.
    I still stand with my original post. I am charitable, I volunteer at the local Boys and Girls club and the public Library. I don’t need someone to give me ideas on where to donate my time or money. True or false about this charity, large scale charities do not donate all of what is given, a large percent of all monies can be used to cover “overhead”, advertising and pay salaries. Large salaries. If you want to donate money, give it straight to the recipients or donate your time. Charities are a business.
    Still gonna read the book. Have a good day all.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    I work at PayPal and I tried to put in a good word for you, but I was told that you just had to comply with PayPal requirements, which apparently you did.

    To be fair, PayPal has a legal obligation to try to ensure that people aren’t using it to launder money or defraud people. You can just imagine how difficult this can be. No offense, but I don’t believe that you received special treatment – either good or bad. Also, since you are now approved, I would not anticipate any automated process shutting down your PP account.

    Keep up the good works.

  34. Mike
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

    hey pat! I just donated, but in the paypal message i wasn’t paying attention and wrote my email as instead of gmail!

    hopefully this wont be an issue?

  35. Anonymous
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 3:46 AM | Permalink

    Is it possible to put up some kind of a progress meter for Book 2?

    Your work with charities (commendable!), side projects, promotional tours, etc.. don’t really bother me. Its your time, your life, and you can do whatever you want.

    The only thing that frustrates me is the lack of information as to how far along Book 2 is. Your updates are usually along the lines of “I’m in middle of revisions” but I never know if that means you’re 10% of the way through or 75%.

    I think a lot of people (or at least me)would be a lot happier if I knew that progress was being made and how much was left.

    Just a suggestion. And I wish you all the best.

  36. marky
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Brian Igelchen, click on the picture from the original charity post, that says this under it:

    (Click the picture to be cool and donate 11 bucks.)

    That’ll be you in PayPal.

    Pat, I donated yesterday. But, I forgot to put in the name I wanted. I’m an egit.

    If I win, I’ll reply with the name I want. Sorry again……Now, where’s my bag of hammers?

  37. Anonymous
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Mr Anonymous,

    The other work Pat is doing right now is hard and takes effort.

    Just have more patience if he started work on the chart some one else would just say “omg why are u wasting ur time…blah blah blah i have nothing else to do blah blah”

    These things take time…if you havent seen the manuscript in an earlier blog…look at it and then you will be more sympathetic.

    Your sincerely HMG

  38. Anonymous
    Posted October 29, 2009 at 3:08 PM | Permalink


    If you re-read my post, my issue wasn’t with how long its taking, but rather with the lack of a known timetable or lack of info as to how much progress has been made in whatever stage the book process is in.

  39. Roswitha
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 2:37 AM | Permalink

    Re Anonymous Chris’s 2nd post (charities are a business)…your opinions are your opinions. However, it is generally not realistic for individuals who want to help people across the world to do so in person. While donating time is certainly something I’m sure we all advocate and some of us do, there are things that only money can provide. Donating money to individuals is a great idea…if you know them. If you don’t, how can you be sure you are donating to a “worthy cause?” Furthermore, there is a great way to check out how charities spend their money: GuideStar and Charity Navigator are websites (free for individuals) you can use to see how charities are performing, spending their money, etc. I believe in sustainable projects and am happy to support Pat’s choice, as well as others.

    Your comment about wasting time and making fans listen to excuses was just plain rude.

  40. wirelessrobin
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

    Well said last commentre. I like that there is a place to check out what charities are doing.

  41. Sir Ralston
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 4:28 AM | Permalink

    the cover of a book that I will always remember is your first one on the hardback edition. The young man with red hair and the lute with leaves ruslting everywhere. beautifull. Thank you for your creative mind, through you words my internal world finds new paths to tread.
    Thank you,
    Ralston, up top in Montana

  42. Aaces
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    I have to agree with the anonymous about the time frame. I think most everyone knows that Pat has been dealt some tuff blows in the last 1 1/2 yrs. However, I feel it’s not too much to ask to have some sort of time reference. I know Pat can’t pin down a day, maybe not even a month, but what’s wrong with narrowing it down to a quarter, or even a season? I think it would go along way.

  43. Shavron
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    The problem with trying to narrow it down to even something as vague as quarter is that writing doesn’t always go as smooth as intended.

    Just look at George RR Martin.
    This year and last year he stated he should be done with A Dance With Dragons around the month of June. The month comes and goes and his fans get pissed because he missed another self-imposed deadline.

    With Pat never giving us a time frame we can all be slightly annoyed that its taking long but at least he has never “promised” it by any sort of specific date.

  44. Aaces
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

    Good point Shavron, I can definitely see the logic in that.

  45. william pape
    Posted November 29, 2009 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    Pat, for a name in your novel, I pick my grandmother, born in Belgium around 1890. Her name was Berthe Debe’. Berthe is pronounced “Bercht.” It translates to “Bertha,” but we won’t go there. Anyway, like you, I was born in Wisconsin; and I wish I could find my family in Belgium. Maybe if you had a character named Berthe Debe’, someone would read it and post: “that’s my great-great-great aunt!” And i would read it and say: “you’re my 10th cousin!!” Awesome!

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