Warm Fuzzies

Today we’re going to take a little break from the day-to-day business of Worldbuilders. We’ve had a busy couple weeks here.

We’ve still got a few auctions going on that you might want to take a peek at. But we won’t be launching any new ones until January. Worldbuilders runs until January 18th, so we still have plenty of time.

We’re not pausing the fundraiser so much as we’re slowing it down a bit. This is a busy time for everyone, and we don’t want to have to compete for your attention. This time of year folks are traveling and hosting. There are parties and winter blizzards. Plus a lot of folks are dealing with post-traumatic stress now that finals are over.

I’m talking about my fellow teachers, of course.

So today I’m just going to share some e-mails that have made me smile over the last couple weeks.


Merry Christmas from Dubai! I just wanted to say hello, and let you know that what you are doing for Worldbuilders is amazing and inspirational. Given all the depressing news as of late, your efforts, and those of everyone involved, have been a real pick-me-up this season.


I hear you Brett. Every year Worldbuilders renews my faith in humanity a little. It also reminds me how delightfully generous the geek community can be. It’s nice to be reminded of how many cool people are out there, willing to give a little to make the world a better place.

Let’s have a picture while we’re at it. If we’re handing out warm fuzzies, there’s no sense being stingy…

(Pow. There you go. Right in the feels.)

This is what it’s all about folks. A dad being able to give milk to his little girl. That’s what we’re doing.


*      *      *

A lot of times people write me to tell me of the experiences they’ve had with Worldbuilders. This e-mail was particularly interesting….

Heya Pat,

I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know about a way that your fundraiser has had an impact on the world other than in the obvious ways….

This holiday season, I’ve told my family that instead of gifts, I’d much rather they donated to Worldbuilders on my behalf. So I’ve found myself explaining what Worldbuilders is, and, by extension, what Heifer International does.

And you know what? Everyone loves it. My tree-hugging hippie relatives love it because it’s eco-savvy, sustainable, and helps people in need. My straight-laced conservative relatives like it because it encourages hard work and self-reliance. It doesn’t hurt that donations are tax deductible too…

Over the holidays, it’s been really nice to have something that we all can agree on, no matter what our particular political affiliations might be. That’s rare these days.


 Some the conversions take a little longer than others, though….

Last night my husband and I were going over our list of people we still need to buy stuff for…

Him: Crap! We still need to get gifts for your whole family!
Me: No we don’t. I decided to donate to Heifer International in their name. I got them a goat.
Him: Wait, what? A goat?
Me: Yes, well they don’t actually get a goat. I donated a goat in their name.
Him: So you got them a goat that you aren’t going to to give them?
Me: (exasperated) Yes, it goes to a family in need!
Him: Can we not get a goat for my brother too? I feel he deserves to not get a goat for Christmas.
Me: I think you are missing the point…

 But unsurprisingly, my favorite stories are how parents and kids end up participating in the fundraiser together….

Yo Pat,

I know that this time a year, more than any, you’re SUPER busy with Worldbuilders and other such Pat-y (?) things. Like writing. Or staring at the fantasy pin-up calendar. Whatever.

I had to write you ESPECIALLY at this time of year, though. To thank you for creating Worldbuilders. Sure, sure.. there are tons of other charities out there and, even if you hadn’t created this awesome thing, I could feel good about spending my money in a few other equally kick-ass places. But being able to set my daughter on my lap and show her that we can give a flock of chicks or a goat to a family in need somewhere else has been priceless.

That daughter is 12 now. And donating to Worldbuilders this time a year has become a tradition. The kid makes it her Christmas present to the grandparents by donating in their name. Dude. So thank you. For creating a space that gives me the opportunity to teach my kid what giving really means. What compassion truly is. And, HELLO – for mom to have a chance at winning some pretty kickass geek-swag, too.


The swag is a pretty sweet bonus in the deal. I’ve actually kicked in $120 bucks on the team page (enough for a goat) hoping I might win some of the books we’ve got up for grabs this year.

We also have a video that someone created to help promote Worldbuilders. If the style looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen his work on Sword and Laser.

Isn’t that the best? I think I’m going to send him a little something in the mail…

Last but not least, I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for the help you’ve given to Worldbuilders so far.

Thank you.

Authors: thanks for sending in books, to say nothing you who also donate your time and talent, too.

Readers: thanks for donating on our Team Heifer Page, thanks for buying stuff from the Tinkers Packs, and bidding on our auctions.

Thanks for spreading the word to your family and friends. Thanks for blogging and tweeting about us. Thanks for writing stories for your local papers.

Thanks for letting our sponsors know that you appreciate their donations. Without them, Worldbuilders wouldn’t amount to much.

I’ll stop there.

If you happen to have a warm-fuzzy worldbuilders story of your own, feel free to share it in the comments below. This is the perfect time for it. Tis the season, and all of that…



This entry was posted in fanmail, videos, Warm Fuzzies, Worldbuilders 2012. By Pat28 Responses


  1. adam.7oews
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:31 AM | Permalink

    So this is only tangentially related to worldbuilders, but a week or two ago I read Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, and I gotta say that this is a pretty powerful book. It follows several real families and orphans living in the slums of Mumbai as they try merely to make it to the next day. It conveys, with what feels like a high degree of realism, the daily struggles and hope the impoverished endure. Despite the subject, the author doesn’t attempt to guilt the reader with her vivid scenes like some world vision commercial, instead, she adds humanity to their plight in way I’ve never felt before. My family has lived a moderately frugal existence at times, but I have never experienced anything close to poverty. I feel like this book allowed me to experience how the other half lives like I never have before. If you have the time I highly recommend reading it.

  2. Posted December 21, 2012 at 4:44 AM | Permalink

    Hi, just thought I’d take a break in my last day at work for this year (and cycle, depending what calendars you use ;-) ) and just say: Wow! I’m more amazed every year at how much worldbuilders and all the connected things just rock…

    Keep it up, please do. :-)

    No particularly fuzzy stories here, but I do make a point that around this time of the year, when I indulge myself to something, I try to match it up with a donation…so expect a few more small ones coming. ;-)

    • Posted December 21, 2012 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

      I’m glad that I’m not the only one that thinks that way.

      For me, it’s toys for my little boy. Sometimes I see something, want to buy it for him, then think, “C’mon… does he really NEED that? He’s got plenty of toys, and besides, his current favorite thing right now is a cardboard tube….”

      I usually stay strong. But when I cave and buy him something useless and dumb, I balance it out by buying toys for other kids in the area whose families aren’t doing so well this year. I feel like it balances things out.

      Best of all, I get to feel good all around: I indulge my daddy impulses, treat Oot, and make the world a better place. Hat trick.

      I’m so happy to hear that Worldbuilders is your go-to place to balance things out.

  3. Marclee1703
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

    toooo much worldbuilder

    • Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

      Hey Scrooge. I’ve got some ghosts on the phone here, they want to talk to you….

  4. jayh
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:17 AM | Permalink

    Well, since my relatives up in Canada said give to charities in lieu of gifts, they really got my goat(s). But do I have to share if I win something from their donations, that’s the big moral dilemma. I still need to send off the Honor Cards, which I’ll do via email. Save some gas and trees.

    • Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

      I don’t think you have to feel guilty about sharing.

      Well… unless they’re book people. Then it is kind of an ethical dilemma….

      • jayh
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

        Well, if I win a book I’ll let my Aunt read it…. as soon as I get my copy of Tinker back from her.

  5. Sim
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    I don’t have a huge story. I’m just a student, so I’m on the poor side of things. And I’m about the farthest thing you could find from a internet celebrity, too. So I can’t really boost the Worldbuilders signal as much as I’d like.

    But I bought a flock of ducks for twenty bucks. And I’m hoping to go in for a goat after I get my Christmas money….

    And I managed to convert one person this year. A guy in my psychology class. Our teachr was late a week ago, and while we were waiting for him to show up, I told him about your charity. I was guessing he’d be receptive to it, because I saw him reading Stephen Ericson earlier this year, and we talked about your books.

    Anyway. Just before finals, he told me that he’d bought a flock of ducks too. I felt pretty good about that.

    It’s not as cool as the video up there. But My thought is, if each of us brought in just one convert to Worldbuilders, things would steadily keep getting bigger and better.

    Like I said, it’s not much. But it made me feel good.

    • Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM | Permalink


      I think you’re selling yourself short. When I was a student, 20 bucks was a week’s worth of groceries. That’s a huge donation.

      And in my opinion, bringing one new person into the fundraiser is just about the best thing someone can do. That’s the best way to consistently make Worldbuilders bigger and better. Word-of-mouth…

  6. ziggadiah
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    So once upon a time I heard that if Americans spent as much feeding people around the world as we do on our pets, there would be no hungry. I’m not sure if it’s true or just one of those thoughts that won’t go away, but I took it to heart.

    My wife and I keep track of whatever we spend on our pets and we put the same to charity.

    We just have two little bunnies but it’s amazing how quickly that adds up. Pet food, new toys, cage repairs, pet sitter, all of it gets matched with worldbuilders. Also, I have OCD, so rounding up helps the donations a lot too. :)

    I always loved heifer, but now I get free books when I donate. Double win.

  7. Constance
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    I won the Paul Kidby ‘Night Watch’ print at auction and I’m thrilled. Not only do I get one of my favorite artists and genre’s to hang up in my home, my hundred or so dollars will buy some nice goats or duckies for someone who needs to eat this Christmas far more badly than I need a new thing to hang on my walls. (Probably beside the Bakshi Lord of the Rings poster.)

    Thank you Pat for putting the time and effort into this every year. You’ve made the world a better place by your writing for us nerds, and you’ve made the world a better place by your efforts for those who can’t really afford the luxury of thick hard-cover novels.

  8. Constance
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    I also bought those sweet Cthulu playing cards for my husband. This means I’m helping him, World Builders, Heifer, AND the Great Unspeakable Old Ones this holiday season.

    Thanks, Pat!

    • Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

      Heh. I never thought of it before, but Heifer International and Lovecraft probably aren’t in the same room very often, are they? They’re about as far apart, philosophically, as two things could ever be….

      • Posted December 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

        I don’t know… the Elder Gods want to end the world as we know it, and, in a way, so does Heifer International…

  9. EmperorCohen
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    Not really a fuzzy-feelings story, but the Spanish promo website for your books is keeping track of the fundraiser and explaining what Worldbuilders is about here: http://lahistoriadekvothe.com/worldbuilders-2012

  10. judyb
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Permalink


    Every time you post books in a WorldBuilders blog, I squee a bit, whip out my pencil and notepad, and eagerly devour your blurbs. I figure that with the fundraising total happily being as high as it is, my chances of winning that one specific item is negligible, and I am always loathe to miss out on a good book. In an effort to help show appreciation for the authors and publishers, I then zip over to Amazon and purchase any books that catch my eye (and there have been many……..). Any savings from Amazon (‘you’ve saved 7.2%!’) then get pooled together and donated over to WorldBuilders in one lump sum every few weeks (in addition to my normal X amount donated every year), thereby ensuring maximum happiness all the way around – Worldbuilders, authors/publishers, and my personal library. Perfect trifecta indeed. :) Happy holidays to you and your family, Pat!

    • Posted December 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

      Actually the odds of winning something this year are really ridiculously good. Like, really *crazy* good. We’ve just got so many books this year.

      We’re going to do some math and post the odds in a week or so. I think you’ll be surprised….

  11. Posted December 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    I have a story kinda like Salude’s, except the other way around. First of all, I’m 14 and I had no idea what to get my father for Christmas. He’s a bit of a geek, but most of all he’s charitable: he was a Peace Corps volunteer and actually saw Heifer International at work, so this gift was especially poignant for him. He loved the idea of giving money that actually gets passed on and whose benefits resound for posterity and the wider community. The best part, of course, are the “warm fuzzies” you get. But our more cynical sides appreciate the great swag you could get. If there’s one thing that would have made it even nicer, it would be more options: I think some people would prefer to fund a small business or send a girl to school, or even just leave the funds to be distributed as Heifer wishes. But these are tiny foibles that are insignificant next to the enormous good that Worldbuilders does by harnessing the generosity of the geeky community (and the entire world). Thanks for creating this initiative.

  12. kitgordon
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    I was donating to Heifer before Worldbuilders, thanks to a friend who brought me in–but Pat has made it amazing, as well as serious fun. Happy solstice/happy new year to all my fellow geeks.

  13. Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    My husband is crazy about llamas. He wants a llama so bad (like a real live one, a pet, one that will live in our yard and mow the grass for us). He whines about llamas and how he needs a llama and nobody ever lets him have a llama.

    So this year for Christmas we bought each other a llama.

    Someday I’ll get him one that will mow his lawn for him. This one will mow someone else’s lawn. :)

  14. TomHC3
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    I just showed this video to my 10 year old who decided to forgo a present this year and buy someone a duck. She is now busy convincing her brothers to do the same. If I know her, my dog and cat will be donating by the end of the night too

    • Potterama
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

      That is totally sweet. Your daughter sounds like my Tiny Tyrant. But I didn’t mean to cost anybody their Xmas presents. Please ask your daughter: if she sent a duck to a needy family, what would she name it?

      • TomHC3
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

        It was totally her idea and she really wanted to do it for those who needed stuff more than her. Her brothers have also asked to forgo something which has made me one incredibly proud father.

        She told me it depends on whether it is a boy or a girl. If it is a girl then it would be Angel, a boy would be named Spike. She is a big Buffy fan even at her age. I suggested Howard – but she didn’t get the joke…

        • Potterama
          Posted December 22, 2012 at 11:55 PM | Permalink

          A generous soul and a Buffy fan to boot? You have cause for pride. Well since we see this duck laying eggs, I think we can be pretty sure it’s a girl. Ask her to view the video one more time to make sure the name is right, and wish her happy holidays.

          • TomHC3
            Posted December 25, 2012 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

            Thank you so much for this. It meant a tremendous amount for Theresa to see the duck named by her!

  15. pgs3
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 1:05 AM | Permalink

    New Christmas tradition this year — all my siblings and in-laws are donating to Worldbuilders in place of buying gifts for one another. You and your books are enjoyed by members of all three generations, so it was the easiest sell of all time. Everyone was on board about fifteen minutes after I sent out an email with a link to your blog.

    Folks are having fun helping others. We’ll get the kids involved next year. I love the idea of matching all gifts.

    Keep changing the world.

  16. abpetitex11
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been a dedicated giver to Worldbuilders in the past and have given again this year. I then discovered that the Sunday School classes at the church where I work were raising money to give a lamb to Heifer International. I immediately contacted the head of Christian Education and told her about Worldbuilders because I knew it would help make their donation that much more powerful. She loved the idea and they are now donating the money raised via Worldbuilders instead of directly to Heifer. It is a small thing, but I feel like I’ve done a little more good.

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