Category Archives: calling on the legions

Worldbuilders 2017

Welcome to you, geeks of all creeds and nations. Welcome, my beloved, bookish brethren and sistren. Welcome, my lovely, empathetic, large-hearted people.

It’s time to make the world a better place. It’s time to fly our flags and engage in fabulous ballyhoo. It’s time to feed hungry children (while winning fabulous prizes.)

It’s time for the annual Worldbuilders fundraiser.

Worldbuilders-Logo_Web--less-space

Over the years, people like you have helped Worldbuilders raise more than $7,000,000 to make the world a better place by partnering with charities such as Mercy Corps and First Book.

Our end-of-the-year fundraiser focuses on our favorite charity: Heifer International, an organization that gives people the training and tools to raise themselves out of poverty and starvation. For more than 60 years, Heifer has worked to improve education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry all over the world.

Don’t take my word for it though. Watch this instead. Seriously. It’s only a minute and a half.

This is what Heifer is all about. They don’t just poke food into hungry kids, they make it so families can control their own futures and take care of themselves. Heifer gives families chickens, and sheep so children have milk to drink, eggs to eat, and warm clothes to wear. They provide communities with clean water to drink, building materials to improve homes, and education that helps improve crop yields.

Heifer International helps people help themselves. It gives people the tools so that they can become self-sufficient. Forever.

If you want to be part of that, there are a few different ways you can contribute to the cause:

  • Option 1: The Lottery

This is the simplest option. Just head over to our fundraising page and donate.

When you donate on that page you’ll be entered into our prize lottery, which contains thousands of books, games, comics, and more.

For every $10 you donate on the fundraising page, your name will be entered into our random drawing. So if you donate $30 (enough for a flock of chickens) your name goes in three times. Donate enough for a goat ($120) and your name goes in 12 times. Enough to give clean water to a whole village ($300) you get 30 chances to win.

What’s in the lottery? A lot. So much that if I showed it to you all at once, the raw intensity of the aggregate awesome would cook your brain like a toad thrown into the sun.

So we’ve spread things out so that we can show them to you in all their glory without risking your precious brain. I’ll be posting up some of it here on my blog, but there will be content going up pretty much every weekday on the Worldbuilders website.

If you head over there, you can see *all* the geeky swag we’re giving away on our Lottery Library page. We’ll update it throughout the fundraiser as more donations come in….

You can also check out blogs full of prizes here:

In order to make sure everyone wins prizes they’ll love, when you make a donation, we let you pick what types of stuff you’d like to win…

As an added bonus, there are lots of sub-team pages you can donate to while still being part of the main fundraiser (and lottery).

There’s a team page for Professional Manuscript Critiques, which has a handful of fantastic authors and editors offering to critique your manuscript. If you donate on their page you’re eligible for the same lottery prizes as anyone else, PLUS those critiques.

There’s also The Fishery: Kingkiller Prizes where we have a whole pile of Kingkiller-specific prizes that people have made. There’s things like fan-made art, a beautiful Cthaeh quilt, some hand-made Tak sets, and a lot more… (If you have something Kingkiller you’d like to donate to this mini lottery, get in touch at donations (at) worldbuilders.org.) Again, donating to this team gets you entries to the regular lottery, plus this exclusive lottery of themed goodies.

There’s a bunch of other team pages too. Too many to list here, but if you’re curious you can go here and check them out.

You can also make a team page of your own if you want. Set your own goals. Invite your friends or family. Create your own rewards, or maybe just try to rally people in a fandom you’re fond of….

  • Option 2: Auctions

Sometimes we get donations that are cool…but only to a select group of people. Some people would squee with delight at winning a portal gun, but some people  just wouldn’t be into it.

(sad, unhappy people)

The same thing is true with action figures, musical instruments, manuscripts, collectibles. Signed art and rare books. Cameo appearances in books. Manuscript critiques….

When things like that get donated, we put them up for auction.

All our current auctions are over on the Worldbuilders eBay page. Keep an eye on it. We’ll be adding stuff all the time.

The funds raised through the auctions will be going to Heifer International too, so you’re still helping us have a huge impact on the lives of people who need it.

  • The Sure Thing (The Holiday Gift Option.)

For those of you who want to have an absolute sure thing, we have an online store.

We have geekery from my books, games, t-shirts, and tons of other stuff for your perusal. You won’t be entered in our prize lottery, but all the profits will go to Worldbuilders and help make the world a better place.

Fun and Games.

Every year, we also do some fun events for Worldbuilders. We will be posting up whimsical videos on our youtube channel as always, and organizing another video game tournament along the lines of last year’s Overwatch Tournament.

And, in following of the tradition of the last two years, I’ll be…

  • Streaming on Twitch

For the last couple of years I’ve been livestreaming on Twitch to raise awareness of the charity. In the past I’ve done Q&A sessions about the craft of writing or mental health. We’ve played board games, had sing-alongs and blanket forts.

I’ve also played games, obviously. The last two years I’ve played Fallout 4 and Witcher 3. I’m not sure what I’m going to do this year, but I’ve heard good things about Destiny 2….

My Twitch schedule through the end of the fundraiser will be MONDAY – FRIDAY 4PM-7pm CST

(Unfortunately, I won’t be starting until Wednesday the 15th, because I’m away from my streaming computer right now.)

Note: I might also be streaming on the weekends. But those days will be more erratic, especially as I’ll be at PAX Unplugged from November 17th to the 20th, and I’ll also be skipping November 22nd to the 25th to spend Thanksgiving with my family.

The fabulous Amanda might do a stream or two on days where I’m not available, too. She seemed pretty excited to show you her Stardew Valley farm. I’m also going to bring in some other people to play games with, make funny talk, and just generally have a good time.

But you won’t catch wind of any of this, if you haven’t headed over here to my twitch channel, followed me there, then changed your settings so you get a notification when I start a new stream.

Important Links and Contact Information

Our website will have all of the information you’ll need, including how much money we’ve raised and how many prizes are currently in the lottery. Worldbuilders also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account for those of you who like to have the internet injected directly into your veins.

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Check out our handy FAQ.

Want to donate something to Worldbuilders? Help us spread the word? Do a stretch goal? Write a story for your local paper? Drop us a line here: donations [at] worldbuilders.org.

All right folks. Are you ready? I’m so ready.

Let’s do this thing.

pat

P.S. Just in case you missed it, here’s one more link to our Fundraiser donation page.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool news, Worldbuilders 2017 | By Pat12 Responses

Secrets, Arts, and News of Three Parts

Hey there everybody,

I’m typing this as I sit in a hotel room in Seattle. Tomorrow I fly home to see my babies. But for the last week, I’ve spent my days doing secrety things with cool people.

I can’t really share any details right now. But suffice to say that I had a good time, and you’ll see the fruits of this labor… soonish. Eventually. Before the heat death of the universe at any rate. Probably.

*     *    *

If you’re more interested in things that you can put your sweaty little hands on right now. Allow me to talk about the kickstarter a little bit.

If you missed the last blog, or have simply have been distracted by the many woes of the world, you might have missed the fact that we recently launched a kickstarter to make something like this:

(Oh Bast. If I were you, I wouldn’t ever wear a shirt either….)

What’s more, the kickstarter had a delightfully successful launch, and so many of you jumped in with such enthusiasm that we’re already over 1300% funded already.

This is really nice for us, as it’s the first kickstarter we’ve done completely on our own, and we weren’t sure how it would go. So far, it’s been a wild ride. We even got selected by Kickstarter as one of the Project We Love, which was hugely flattering.

We’ve torn through a bunch of our stretch goals. Unlocking many, many new cards. And we’re showing off new stuff as quickly as we can make it available.

For example, here’s some of the new pieces: Devi, Lorren, and Mola.

(Click to Embiggen)

To make things even cooler, we’ve been slowly releasing hand-painted pieces of original card art from Echo.

 

She does a lot of her work digitally, so it’s rare for her to have original oil paintings available. Some of these will be different from the final card, either because she started working on them before the card was finalized, or simply because they had to be digitally aligned to make them symmetrical, like a card needs to be.

We included some of these when the kickstarter first launched. But they were all sold out by the second day. Now we’re preparing to launch 7 more of them. But since there’s only one of each and they sell fast, we wanted to make sure that everyone who might be interested was notified in advance before we put them up. So, on Tuesday, August 29th at 12pm Central Time we’ll be posting up the following original art pieces:

  • Master Lorren, Alternate King of Spades
  • Denna, Queen of Spades
  • Devi, Alternate Queen of Hearts
  • Cinder, Chandrian Joker
  • Fae Bast, Alternate Jack of Clubs
  • Kilvin, King of Clubs
  • Ambrose, Jack of Clubs

They range in price from $1500 to $1800, which is a steal for hand-painted art from someone like Echo. Each of them will come with all four unique decks of cards, free US shipping, and a set of the special, gilt-edged Chandrian decks.

We’ll be releasing more of the original art in another week or so, but I can’t make all of those announcements here. So if you’re hoping to get your hands on one be sure to back the campaign (even if it’s just at the $5 tier) so you get updates in your email as soon as they go out. You’re always able to change your pledge to another tier until the campaign ends.

*     *     *

We’ve also hit our final print stretch goal: and as a result, Echo will be producing another piece of art showing Kvothe’s Troupe entertaining themselves after camping for the night.

This poster is going to be extra cool though, because we’re having some cameos in it. Three of our Edema Ruh troupers are going to be the McElroy Brothers.

(Awww, brothers….)

These good good boys are going to be appearing in the print. Which fills me with delight, as I’m a huge fan of their work. (In fact, just a couple hours ago I had a real solid cry listening to the final episode of The Adventure Zone.)

What’s more, you’ll get your chance to be included in that print as well, as we’ll be putting some cameos up for grabs in the near future. If that’s something that interests you, be sure to sign up for updates on the campaign, and keep an eye on the e-mails, as that’s where we’ll be announcing when those cameo spots go live, too.

So. If you haven’t already, go and check out the kickstarter and look at the cool art. And if you’re interested in getting some of Echo’s originals, set an alarm, and we’ll see you at 12pm central time on Tuesday.

Thanks again everyone,

pat

Also posted in Arts and Crafts, cool things, Echo Chernik, fan coolness, geeking out | By Pat10 Responses

The Name of the Wind Art Deck

So. Here’s the deal. Today we have a bit of an announcement. And by we, I mean me and my team here at Elodin Enterprises. (Yes. That’s really our name.)

But before I tell you what’s happening now, I hope you’ll understand if I mention some of the events that led up to this happening. I’m guessing this format isn’t going to be hugely surprising for any of you. Because that’s how I do.

    *     *     *

Once, years ago and miles away, I heard about an artist by the name of Echo Chernik. In little dribs and drabs, I kept hearing about her, and running into her art in various places.

And to put it plainly, I thought it was amazing.

Years went by, and kept brushing up against each other professionally. The first time she was part of the Pairs kickstarter I did with James Earnest back in 2014. A year or so later, I saw some of her art in a show at a convention and was wowed.

Later, I found out she was doing a Tarot Deck for Shadowrun.

(Queen of Swords, if you hadn’t guessed.)

Later still, James invited her into the Tak Kickstarter, where she designed the board that many of you have seen….

Which might not seem like a bit deal, until you realize that she had to design the Selas Flower before she made that board:

(Before she did this, the flower only existed in my head….)

It was during the Tak kickstarter that we first got to talk and work together a bit. (See selas flower above.) And after the ice was broken, I felt brave enough to actually approach her at a convention, introduce myself, and ask if she wanted to hang out and chat a little bit. This might surprise some of you, but the truth is, I’m kinda bashful. Especially around creative people I admire.

While we were chatting over coffee, I learned something surprising. While Echo loves going to conventions, working with game companies, and making geeky art…. that’s not really what she does for a living. Her day job is doing corporate ad design working for people like Dos Equis, Celestial Seasonings, companies like that.

“Do you like that stuff better?” I asked.

“I love illustrating for advertising and packaging. But being a geek at heart, the opportunity to combine my passion for art and geekdom is a dream,” she explained. “Unfortunately, games don’t pay well enough for that dream to be full-time.”

Hearing this, I was honestly irritated. Echo is a world-class talent, and the fact that she was forced to do corporate ad design to make ends meet… well… it kinda pissed me off.

“Would you want to maybe do a project together sometime?” I asked, trying not to sound too eager. “Maybe a kickstarter or something? My people love beautiful art, and they’re enthusiastic. I’d love to see how you’d paint my characters. If it goes well, maybe we could make enough money so you could just draw what you love for a while, and not worry so much about making ends meet….”

She didn’t laugh at me, which is always a good sign. And then we talked more and more seriously about it until… well… now.

And here we are.

I hereby present to you: The Name of the Wind Art Deck. We’ve been working on getting this ready for the better part of a year, and I’m incredibly proud of how it’s turning out so far.

On the surface, we’re making a deck of playing cards that feature art and characters from The Name of the Wind.

But fairly early in the process, Echo and I realized we had a problem. A deck of cards only has 12 face cards, but we had more than twelve characters we wanted to feature. Wouldn’t it be nice to see *more* than just the main cast of characters?

We tossed around a couple ideas until we hit a solution that I’m really proud of. We’re doing multiple decks with different pieces of art. That means we can show you more characters, and even do a couple variants with our favorites. (A Fae bast, and a mortal bast, for example.)

But (and here’s the clever bit) the backs of the cards will be the same…

That means– Well. You know what. We took great pains to explain all this in our campaign video. Plus there’s a bunch of cool animations in there to help explain what I mean.

Does that make sense? How you’ll be able to make your own decks?

This is a bit of an experiment for us here at Elodin. We’ve never run our very own Kickstarter before. But we do have experience producing goods and shipping them out because of the Indiegogos we’ve been doing for the last three years with Worldbuilders.

Luckily, the team has been doing all the logistical work. My job has been easier. Since I suck at organization, the main thing I’ve been doing is been developing the art with Echo. And it’s been turning out so, so good..

Check out young Kvothe.

And Auri…

Also, did I mention that since package design is what Echo does for a living, she’s *Super* good at it?

Look at this gorgeousness:

The red decks are the Selas Decks, and the Black ones are the Chandrian Decks. They both have alternate cards and unique jokers and…

Y’know? You should really just go over and check out the kickstarter itself. You can see all the art and the stretch goals and details there.

Also, I feel I should mention that we have a couple tiers that are limited in quantity. Partly to encourage people to jump in early, and partly because we can only produce so many of certain items

If you’d head over and check it out, I’d appreciate it. Both my team and Echo’s family have invested a lot of time and effort into this, and the first couple days of a kickstarter are *really* important. (So both jumping in early and helping to spread the word are hugely appreciated.)

Here’s the Link. 

pat

Also posted in Arts and Crafts, cool things, Echo Chernik, geeking out | By Pat56 Responses

Geeks Doing Good 2017

It’s that time of year again, folks. Time to make the world a better place while buying some delicious geeky swag.

For those of you who are new around here, (or who just missed it, because it only lasts a week) for the last couple years, Worldbuilders has held a Geeks Doing Good fundraiser in the summer.

During this campaign, we throw up a ton of new merchandise on Indigogo. Sometimes we’re giving you an early shot at items we’re developing for The Tinker’s Packs, sometimes we’re giving away rare things we only have limited quantities of, sometimes we’re just experimenting, and making things available that you’ll never see again….

It only lasts a week (June 5-12 this year), and we have all manner of geekery to show off.

  • New Creators in The Tinker’s Packs

For the last couple of years, we’ve been slowly gathering seducing creators into letting us make cool things for them in Tinker’s Packs. And we’ve had some good success. For example, we’ve done Jim Butcher t-shirts for two years now…

But this is the year where we’ve really managed to make some stuff happen….

This year’s fundraiser features products from Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Holly Black, Myke Cole, as well as the fabulous comics Bitch Planet, Sex Criminals, and Rat Queens.

We have t-shirts, tank tops, tote bags, hoodies, coffee cups, stickers, and so much more.

There’s signed, special edition copies of books, too.

If you want, you could just stop reading now and swing by the campaign and see what we’ve got. My feelings wouldn’t be hurt at all. There’s more going on there than I can showcase here in a single blog…

Or, if you like, I can show you some of the highlights….

  • Tons of New Shirts

As you already know from recent blogs, we ran a t-shirt design contest.

When the time came to vote, we had two clear fan-favorites battling it out through the week of voting, never more than 10 or 15 votes apart.

But I’m not the only one who’s got new shirts in this year’s fundraiser. Far from it, as a matter of fact.

We have a new t-shirt from Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files; two new shirts from Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles; two Bitch Planet t-shirts; and a shirt from the ever-knowledgeable Myke Cole, presented in awesomely overkill handbook-speak. All of these shirts are under the umbrella of “t-shirt” on the fundraiser page, meaning to order any of these shirts, you’d select  the “Your Choice of One T-Shirt” perk.

Or, if you are understandably overwhelmed with the choices and feel the need to grab more than one shirt, we also have a t-shirt 3-pack where can grab any three of those shirts and save some money at the same time.

(If you want to buy even more than three shirts, because you’re possessed of more than the usual levels of style and good sense, you can just buy multiple shirt 3-packs, then you’ll just get the discount again and again.)

Also, we have a few non-t shirts, if you see what I mean…

Rat Queens and Sex Criminals are both doing tank tops, which people have been asking us to produce for a while now. We’ve also got a cool raglan for Sex Criminals. (I had to ask what a raglan was, apparently it’s a baseball-type shirt.)

Because these aren’t t-shirts, each of these is its own perk, so they won’t be part of the One Shirt or Three Shirt perks,  so keep that in mind when you’re deciding what to order.

  • Tons of Tak

Ever since we ran the kickstarter, I’ve been itching to bring more Tak stuff into the world, and now we’re able to do just that.

For almost a year now, we’ve been researching and prototyping, so now we’ve got a bunch of new Tak products to expand your collections. Or, if you’ve never played before, this is your chance to start playing the game with unprecedented style….

After much searching and experimentation, we have found a way to make stone piece sets available. (Ceramic, actually, but let’s not quibble.) We also have some limited edition handmade capstones, and new board drawn by Echo Chernik…

And metal pieces folks. It took a long. LONG time to find someone who could make quality metal pieces for any sort of sensible price. But we did it. And they’re made here in the US, too.

What’s more, we’ve worked with Wyrmwood to come up with an entirely self-contained travel Tak set.

It’s small, but still has full-sized pieces and a board big enough for a 6×6 game. And as with everything Wyrmwood makes, it’s a thing of beauty. Also? It’s hingeless. It hangs together with magic. Or magnets. Or both. They’re pretty much the same thing.

We’re offering two versions, so you can pick whichever one fits your pocketbook and personal aestetic better. What’s more, if you’re strapped for cash, we’ve made it so you can buy just the board without the pieces, which knocks a chunk off the price. Then you can either use your old pieces, make new ones, or… I dunno, just use this as a stylish and deceptive way to carry around your gear….

  • A Cabin on JoCo Cruise 2018

Yet again, the folks from JoCo Cruise have contributed a cabin on the next cruise to support the fundraiser.

I’ve been on Joco three times to far, and it’s one of my favorite conventions by far. It’s everything I enjoy about going to a convention, plus I get to go snorkeling. Plus all night gaming. Plus getting to hang out with cool geeks. And there’s karaoke, dance parties, cabaret performances, panel discussions, cocktail hours…

The price tag for a 2 person cabin may seem a little steep. (Though it’s not that bad if you consider that it includes meals and drinks and entertainment for the duration of the trip.)

But even that doesn’t matter in this particular instance. I know a lot of you don’t have a ton of money, so here in the Geeks Doing Good fundraiser, you can throw your hat into the ring for 5 dollars. That’s right. For five bucks, you have a chance to come along on the cruise with us.

You can enter as many times as you buy the perk. We’ll get in contact once a winner is selected, and in February you’ll be sailing high seas with the cool kids.

Seriously guys. It’s a ton of fun, and this is a great opportunity.

  • A Signed, Pre-ordered 10th Anniversary NOTW.

I mentioned a while back on a livestream that this year my publisher is releasing a special 10th Annivesary Edition of The Name of the Wind.

It’s got a bunch of new stuff in it, including beautiful new illustrations….

New maps that I’ve been slaving over with Nate Taylor. A long rambly authors note, and a series of appendixes where I share all manner of secrets from the world, including explanations of the Aturan calendar, an exhaustive pronunciation guide, historical notes, and a long, freaky description of the currency system with illustrations of the coins by Nate Taylor.

It will be released later this year, and if you want a copy signed by me, we’re going to give you the chance to pre-order it here, so you can get a signed book AND splash some money toward a good cause at the same time….

Ordering the book here doesn’t mean you’ll get it sooner than anyone else. We’ll be shipping these out the day before publication, so the soonest they’ll arrive is on the pub date itself.

But that’s pretty much the soonest you’ll be able to get a *signed* copy. And while doing that, you’re helping out your friendly neighborhood geek charity, and that’s always a win.

  • More Book and Game Bundles

As has become tradition, we’ve included some mystery bundles of books and games for you.

These are always a resounding success, and we’re always happy to provide the opportunity for folks to get new geekery in their lives.

This year, we even have a mystery kid’s books bundle, so if there’s a kid in your life you can’t buy enough books for, we’ve got you covered.

  • So much other cool stuff

Please keep in mind that I’m just scratching the surface here….

There’s coolness from Storiarts. There’s an all-Worldbuilders-supporter True Dungeon Run.

We’ve got water bottles, wristbands, miniatures, change jars, and so much more. We’ve even got tiers for you to buy a goat, if you already have enough stuff in your life, and you’d rather just chip in some money to make the world a better place.

So go check it out.

Seriously. Go.

pat

P.S. I’ll be doing some livestreaming to promote the fundraiser and show off some of the cool new merch. Exactly *when* I’ll be streaming is a little up in the air right now. But if you head over and follow my channel, then set your account to get updates, you’ll get a heads-up when I go live…

Also posted in Geeks Doing Good, Worldbuilders | By Pat27 Responses

Art Contest III: The Artening.

Hey there everybody,

If you’ve been hanging around the blog for a while, you know that in June Worldbuilders holds a fundraiser. It’s called Geeks Doing Good, and we put a bunch of cool geekery up on Indigogo for a week so y’all can come over, ooh and ahhh, then hopefully buy some stuff and help us make the world a better place.

Traditionally, we do some T-shirts during the fundraiser. And we have, in the past, occasionally run contests where people can submit designs for t-shirts which we then vote for here on the blog

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

Truth is, over the years y’all have made some beautiful art. And since it’s been two years since our last contest, we figured we were overdue. So we’re throwing open the doors again, and inviting y’all to submit designs for new kingkiller shirts.

But that’s not all….

You see, long long ago. Years and miles away. We made a kingkiller onesie:

It was adored by children everywhere.

We even shot a video of Oot describing what exactly was going on in the picture:

(Awwww… Daddy’s little shill.)

But that was a *long* time ago. Maybe seven years? And we never did a second printing, so most people never had a chance to pick one up….

So anyway, in addition to t-shirt designs, I’d love to see some ideas for onesies or baby shirts if y’all have any bright ideas. I’ve been wanting to make another onesie forever, and this seems like a good opportunity.

Here are some general rules:

  • Must be your original art/design.
  • Please submit your entry as a jpeg, png, or pdf.
  • Images should not exceed 5MB. (If you win, we’ll contact you for high res.)
  • Please submit no more than three designs per category.
  • You can submit the same design to both categories.
  • Submissions must be sent via email. (Below.)
  • The submission period ends on Wednesday, May 17th.

This isn’t a rule so much as an important note: remember that fewer colors for a design tends to be simpler and more elegant, not to mention cheaper to produce.

Here’s how you submit your entries:

  • If you want to submit a t-shirt design, email it to tshirt (at) worldbuilders.org
  • If you want to submit a onesie or baby shirt design, email it to onesie (at) worldbuilders.org

After the deadline, we here at Worldbuilders HQ will sift and sort them, then post a blog where everyone can come in and vote on which ones they like best.

*     *     *

While we’re on the topic of art, there’s another project I’ve been wanting to do for ages. It started as a stupid joke years and years ago, I think I was talking with Paul and Storm about selling out, and what sort of really crass merchandising I’d do. I can’t really remember products we discussed, but it was crazy bullshit like Kvothe action figures with Real Sympathy Grip (TM) and Name of the Windbreakers.

Oh. Oh damn. I meant that to be a joke. But we could totally sell a Windbreaker, couldn’t we?

No. No no. I’m not going to do that. One crazy idea at a time.

Anyway, the one idea I do remember from that conversation was when we joked about making a kingkiller lunchbox. Mostly because I pictured it as having “The Name of the Lunch” written on it. I laughed my ass off at the thought. Partly because when I was a kid, I actually did have a lunchbox. It had Benji on it. And a thermos for milk. My mom packed me a lunch in it for years until I got too old for Benji. Then she used brown bag lunches instead.

So over the years, whenever we would talk about product development, I’d always bring up the Name of the Lunchbox as a joke. Then everyone would roll their eyes at me and we’d all move on with our day.

But when I brought it up this year, everyone kinda just looked at each other and said, “Why not?” The Indigogo is the perfect place to do it, because if people *do* want this bizarre thing and we sell 500 of them, that’s great. But if sanity prevails and we only sell 15, we’ll produce as many as we need, move on with our lives, and Worldbuilders won’t get stuck with four pallets of them gathering dust in a warehouse.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that this is a strange project. Hell, that’s most of the reason I want to do it. And it may prove too complicated to pull it off this year. But what the hell, right? Let’s at least give it a try…

But to do that, we’ll need art for the lunchbox. So if you’re an arty type, I’d love to see what you’d come up with for something like this.

The rules for the lunchbox designs are a little looser. There are size and shape issues that we’ll have to work out if we pick your design. But for your initial submission, USE THE TEMPLATE HERE as a guide, then email it to (you guessed it) lunchbox (at) worldbuilders.org.

Fair warning. We *might* not be putting the lunchbox design up for a vote. As I said, this project is a bit of an odd thing. As I mentioned earlier, you may not see the final product this year. Or maybe ever. But getting art we like is the first step in making my lunchbox dreams come true.

On a completely unrelated note, if you happen to know anyone in the lunchbox-making business who would be willing to give a charity a break on minimum order quantities, feel-free to send them our way.

*     *     *

Lastly but not leastly, I’d like to say that I’m a big fan of people getting paid for their work. Especially designers and artists, who are all-too-frequently asked to ply their craft for free. And while exposure is lovely, we all know you can’t eat it.

Since Worldbuilders is a charity, we run on donations. Partly because of that, and partly because we began as a shoestring operation running out of my living room, most of the art we’ve used was simply given to us out of the kindness of the artist’s hearts. In doing so, those folks have helped us raise a ton of money to make the world a better place.

But artists have to eat too. So from now on, Worldbuilders is adopting the policy of paying the winners of these contests for the use of their art. It’s not going to be buy-an-island money or anything. But it’s something. And don’t get me wrong, if you decide to waive the fee or re-donate it to the charity, we’re still cool with that, too…

I’m just saying. I admire you art-doers. I respect your cleverness and craft. The designs you create fill me with great joy, and help us produce things. You are important to us. So. From now on, there will be money on the table if we pick your design.

I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with…

pat

Also posted in contests, cool things, fan coolness, Geeks Doing Good | By Pat28 Responses

Calling all Troupers: The Birds and the Bees

Yesterday, the Worldbuilders fundraiser passed $1.8 million.

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…

kingkillertakboardpanel(I want it. So. Much.)

You know what else donating $30 dollars does? It buys a family honeybees….

Improving Food Security and Nutrition of Coffee Farm Workers' FaThis 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.

Improving Food Security and Nutrition of Coffee Farm Workers' Fa(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.

That’s what we’re doing here, folks.

That’s what happens when you donate thirty bucks….

*     *     *

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….

*     *     *

And speaking of awesome things, one of my favorite team pages is back this year. Little Charlotte, joined by her sister Maggie, have started an online concert to support Worldbuilders.

Please do me a favor and watch this video.

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.)

But more than anything, I would love it if you donated to Charlotte and Maggie’s team page. They worked really hard on this, and they deserve some love.

Spread the word about the concert. Share the videos you like.

Music brings people together in a a way that nothing else does.

So come join us. Sing along.

Donate. Spread the word.

Save the world.

Also posted in music, My Mom Would Like This Blog, Sarah, Worldbuilders 2016 | By Pat10 Responses

Being a Trouper

Hey there everybody,

I’d meant to post a fun blog earlier this week. I had a couple cued up and almost ready. One was full of Kingkiller tattoos I’ve seen over the last year, another was pictures of babies that have been named after characters from my books. The one I *really* wanted to post involved the story of how I snuck some underage chicks into Max Temkin’s hotel room at Gencon.

41f23fed1b92a824ced03db71d8b4a9c(Like this. You pervert.)

But, as everyone knows, the election happened. Anyone who watched my election-night twitch stream might have an inkling of how I felt about that. And those of you who didn’t watch it can still probably guess.

And I’m guessing a lot of you feel the same way.

Interesting fact for those of you who feel shattered about the results: What you’re feeling now? That’s what a depressive episode feels like. At least it does to me. The pisser about depression is that you can feel desolate hopeless dread of exactly this sort even when nothing bad has happened.

Anyway, as a result, I couldn’t bring myself to finish a fun blog earlier this week. In fact, I’m not in the mood to write a blog now, either. I’ve been writing this thing for TWO HOURS and this is as far as I’ve gotten. It’s like trying to walk with a broken leg.

How the hell am I supposed to feel hopeful right now? How am I supposed to launch this year’s fundraiser and be enthusiastic about the cool news I have to share? I feel like everything is crumbling.

Earlier today, I found myself wondering what Auri would do in this situation. Well… that’s not actually true. Maybe it’s more that I wish I could ask for her advice? I wish she could just… help me. Like maybe she could give me a seashell or something and I would put it in my pocket and then I’d feel a little better.

Hell. You know you’re not doing well when you wish a fictional character would help you out. What the fuck does it even mean that I want help from the person who is arguably the most broken of all my characters? Is this it? Am I finally having a nervous breakdown?

No. I’m not. I’m depressingly sane.

Maybe it’s that Auri never lets it get to her. Not really. Not deep down. She’s a fighter, and despite everything, she always has a tiny flame of joy burning inside her. We’re very different in that regard.

I keep thinking of this picture and I don’t know why….

a-and-e-brazen

One of the things I share with Auri is that we both want to fix the world. Maybe that’s why I wish she could give me some advice. I can’t see a way to fix things right now. I am all unkilter.

Shit. I’m doing an awful job of this. I should just erase everything I’ve written and start over, but that would feel dishonest. I don’t want to lie to y’all. I don’t want to pretend I have my shit together. I don’t. I’m not doing great right now.

But still, I have some news to share. And it can’t wait.

Today I heard someone say, “We have to soldier on” and while I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t think there’s any way I can think of myself as a soldier.

I’ll be a trouper instead. How about that? The show must go on, right?

Okay, I’m taking a mulligan and starting over. Ready?

*     *    *

Hey there everybody,

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that this is the time of year when we do our big annual Worldubuilders fundraiser.

Last year we raised over 1.2 million dollars for Heifer International. We sent little girls to school in Nepal and fed hungry kids in Haiti. We gave people clean water and education. Medicine and self-reliance. The work we do literally brings light into the lives of people all over the world.

And no, I’m not misusing the word “literally” there. One of the many things Heifer does is teache people to make biogas digesters.

biogas-diagram-990x1024This miraculous contraption turns animal waste into fertilizer and methane. Then families can use that methane as a clean, cheap source of light and heat. Cooking over gas is much safer and easier than using a cookfire. That’s a big deal in parts of the world where electricity is expensive or straight-up unavailable.

It’s like real-life alchemy, folks. Heifer teaches people to turn shit into gold.

Over the last 8 years Worldbuilders has raised more than $5,000,000 to make things better all over the world, in Ukraine and Uganda. From Peru to Appalachia.

This year’s fundraiser is launching Monday, and we’ve got some big news. News I’ve been sitting on for months. And despite the fact that I’m a tease of epic proportions, I’m actually going to tell y’all that news today.

1. Story time with Neil Gaiman.

Two years ago, Neil Gaiman red us Green Eggs and Ham. While last year people who donated got to vote on what Gaiman would read. Jabberwocky beat out Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon, so he shot a video of himself reciting it from memory to help us spread the word about the fundraiser.

If y’all had any thoughts about what would be fun for him to read this year, I’d love to hear them in the comments below. Personally, I think The Monster at the End of This Book would be great. I’d love to hear him do Grover’s voice.

2. More livestreaming on Twitch.

Last year, I experimented with livestreaming on twitch to help spread the word about the fundraiser and it worked surprisingly well. So this year, not only will I be streaming again, but Worldbuilders is reaching out to the streaming community in general, and providing tools so that you can do fundraising for us on your own stream.

If you’re a streamer and you’d like to help out Worldbuidlers, contact us at twitchteams@worldbuilders.org and we’ll work with you to make that happen.

And now the big one….

3. A Million Dollars of Matching Money

This year, with Heifer’s help, Worldbuilders has access to a million dollars worth of matching money.

That means that if you come in and donate $10 to Worldbuilders, this anonymous benefactor will double that money, turning it into $20. You donate enough for a goat? It becomes two goats…

dollar-panarama-704155

This is a HUGE deal. And it means we have the chance to absolutely destroy last year’s totals.

I mention this to y’all in advance with the hope that you might be are willing to come in swinging in the early days of the fundraiser. If we manage to get some good donations early on, then double them, I’m hoping the total will be impressive enough that we can get some coverage in the media. That means people will find out about worldbuilders who otherwise would never have noticed it.

If that happens…. well… it means we get to feed a *lot* of hungry kids.

And that’s what I’m really in the mood to do right now.

If you have any suggestions for the upcoming fundraiser, or if you have a clever way of helping us spread the word, please drop those in the comments below, too.

Thanks much.

Take care of each other,

pat

Also posted in Acts of Whimsy, cool news, Uncategorized, Worldbuilders | By Pat108 Responses
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