Category Archives: Worldbuilders 2011

Fabulous Prizes and BFF’s

Okay. I think the problems with WordPress should be sorted out by now. I’m pretty sure that means I can both post things and have things be seen by y’all out there in internetland. Which is nice.

At this point, a lot of people might be tempted to say something bitchy about WordPress. Something along the lines of: “grumble grumble … fucking wordpress … mutter mutter …. pain in my ass….”

But the truth is, I love WordPress. It’s so much better than my previous blog hosting site. And if occasionally they have a hiccup and something goes wrong. Y’know, that’s just life. Shit happens. Whatever went wrong, they fixed it inside of ten days. And this is key, I didn’t have to do anything myself to get things back up and running.

So. Huzzah for WordPress. We’re still BFF’s.

Anyway, on to the news.


Over these last couple weeks we’ve been diligently drawing winners for the Worldbuilders prize lottery, then packaging them up and mailing them out.

Pictured here are the first batch of prizes we packed and shipped. *Not* pictured here were the 100 or so other packages that we managed to get out the door over the course of that long weekend.

The more observant among you might notice two bright, smiling faces in this picture other than my own. (I’m the one with the beard.) Those are Amanda and Nicole, my two new assistants. Without them, y’all probably wouldn’t get your packages until next year. With them as newly initiated members of the team, I have time to do things like write, eat, and occasionally breathe.

Why are we grinning like we’re high on E? Well, because I’ve found that pharmaceutical-grade heroin is a much better benefit than health insurance. Also, we were really pleased with ourselves when we finally figured out how to work the timer on the camera.

A few other frequently asked Worldbuilders questions:

  • When will I be announcing the winners?

Well…. I won’t.

For one, it’s a privacy issue. It would be rude of me to suddenly post up everyone’s names without asking first.

For another thing, I really don’t have the time to sort all that out and post 500 winners up online. Or to e-mail you all individually. It’s just not possible. Not even with my delightful new assistants lending a hand.

  • What about the big prizes, like the ARC of Stardust and the Golden Ticket? Will we get to find out about those?

Gaiman and Goats: Gifts that Keep on Giving

200K Blog: The Golden Ticket(s)

As those prizes are drawn, I’m contacting the winners individually. First to make sure they want the prize, and then to make sure we have everyone’s address right.

I’m also asking those folks if it’s okay for me to mention them on the blog. If they say it’s okay, I’ll be posting up news about them when we post the official fundraiser wrap-up in about a month.

  • How will I know if I’ve won something?

It will show up at your house. Keep in mind that we’re shipping things media mail to save money, so they’ll take a little longer to get to you.

Fair warning: this is a random drawing, and therefore the odds are excruciatingly fickle, if not outright cruel at times. We had one person who donated $1000.00 but due to sheer bad luck didn’t win anything. While someone else donated 80 dollars and walked away with 6 gorgeous signed hardcover books. (I sent the thousand dollar donor something out of my personal stash anyway because I felt bad about their crummy luck.)

My advice is to assume you didn’t win, then be pleasantly surprised if something shows up on your doorstep.

  • How many of the books have you mailed out?

Somewhere between half and a third. We package everything carefully. Plus we had a lot of books this year, so it’s taking a long time.

Here’s the most important thing. Don’t e-mail us asking if you’ve won something. It slows down our shipping and makes my assistants cry. And while it’s true that I occationally enjoy the sound of my employees weeping softly to themselves in low, despondent tones. It’s one of those pleasures I prefer to enjoy in moderation, lest I develop a tendancy to laugh maniacally while gently petting a fluffy white cat.

More soon,


Also posted in blogging | By Pat33 Responses

The Final Day….

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Well folks, we’re at the final day of the fundraiser. As I write this, we’re about 24 hours away from the finish line.

The last couple days have been amazing. A lot of folks have chipped in with last-minute donations. Others have come back to donate a second or third time. A lot of people have been spreading the word, blogging, twittering, and shouting out of windows at unsuspecting persons on the street.

The end result is that we’ve raised far more than I’d ever hoped this year, far beyond the 250,000 dollars I expected to be our high water mark.

I just have a few things to mention before everything’s done.

First: In the last blog I accidentally said that the ARC of Redshirts that John Scalzi donated was going into an auction. That was a typing mistake brought about by lack of sleep. Redshirts is going into the general lottery so that anyone who donates at least 10 bucks has a chance of winning it.

Second: Since I did the post that talked about the odds of winning something from the prize lottery, we’ve had a lot of donations.

So, in the interest of keeping this a prize-rich environment, I’m going to donate another 100 books to the fundraiser. I tend to be a book hoarder, and I have duplicates and triplicates of some books that I’m very fond of. I have extra signed copies that I keep tucked away for a rainy day, too. And some limited edition stuff.

The upshot is that even though you don’t see any pictures of it here, there’s now officially more cool stuff to win. Because I love you.

Third: For the last couple months, I’ve been getting e-mails from people telling me stories about their donations.

I’ve heard from parents who have talked to their kids about Heifer International, then later had their kids write to Santa asking for a goat that they could give to someone who needs it. There have been families that exchanged animals instead of presents this year. Book clubs and church groups have done fundraisers of their own, pooling their resources then donating to Heifer through Worldbuilders.

There isn’t space to share all their e-mails with you, but I thought I might share one….

Hi Pat!

I love, love, love Worldbuilders, but as a broke law student I can’t afford to donate much…So this year, my fiance and I had a fun idea. We agree with your take on Valentine’s Day, so this year as our “Valentine’s Day present” to each other, we donated in our name to Worldbuilders.

We thought setting aside money for goats was way more important than setting aside money for unnecessary trinkets, and what better way is there to celebrate loving each other and wanting to spend our lives together than by making the world we want to live in even better, and honoring an author whose work we adore?

We put it on facebook too, here’s hoping more people might follow the lead!


I like your style, W. Thanks for thinking outside the box and helping to spread the word….

Fourth: There’s only one auction left: the Golden Ticket. Bidding has already topped 4,000 dollars, and I’ll admit to feeling equal parts curiosity and anxiety when I wonder what the winner will ask of me….

Fifthly and Lastly: Ever since I posted up the 150K blog, people have been e-mailing me, asking me to share the video that I made of me reading Beatrice’s Goat to little Oot.

I still feel self-conscious about the fact that my voice gets higher when I read to him. And because we had to cut together a couple of different readings of the book, my voice back and forth between my reading-to-Oot voice and my regular voice, which makes it seem like I’m flirting with puberty….

But people asked for it, so here it is. Not posting because I’m a little vain is just silly.

Plus I figure Oot’s natural cuteness will eclipse any shortcomings on my part….

So there you go, folks. If you didn’t get it before, now you do. That’s what Heifer International does in a nutshell.

If you’d like to make a donation, the Worldbuilders Team page is over here.

If you’d like to read more details about the fundraiser or browse through the thousand odd books donated by authors and publishers, you can head over to the main Worldbuilders page.

Thanks for being awesome,


Also posted in Oot, videos | By Pat76 Responses

Final Donations, Final Days

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

This is it, folks. The last blog of author-donated books for this year’s fundraiser.

We’ve got some really good stuff in here, enough books for two blogs, really. But these are the final days of the fundraiser, so we’re going for one big, action-packed blog instead.

As I write this, we’re less than 500 dollars away from breaking $250,000. I honestly didn’t think we were going to make it. Now I’m curious to see how high things will manage to go before the fundraiser is over at midnight on Feb 7th.

And just to be clear that includes all of Feb 7th. And yes, I know I should technically say the fundraiser ends at 11:59 PM CST on February 7th, but that’s cumbersome. We all know what midnight on the 7th really means…

Will I still count your donation if it’s a little late? Yeah, we’ll probably still include you in the prize drawing and match your donation 50%. But why wait when you can just head over to the Worldbuilders Team Page and donate right now?

And remember, for every 10 bucks you kick in, you have the chance of winning some something from among the thousands of books folks have already donated.

Plus the books we’re adding today, of course….

  • An Advance Reader Copy of Redshirts by John Scalzi. Signed by the man himself.

(Book modeled by the Amazing Athena)

Though I’d never say it to his face, John Scalzi is a hell of a nice guy.

I’m not just saying that because he’s always been kind to me and given me good advice. I’m not saying it because invited me to be part his Clash of the Geeks anthology a while back.

It’s not even because he recently teamed up with Bill Schafer of Subterranean press to donate a week’s worth of profit from his most recent e-book to Planned Parenthood after Komen pulled their support. (If you head over there and buy a copy before the 8th, you can support the cause, too.)

No. The real reason I’m fond of John Scalzi is because he sent me an early look at his upcoming novel Redshirts.

At 20 pages in, I was really enjoying it. At 30 pages in, I was laughing out loud in the restaurant where I was sitting, reading it. Around page 43, I got out my phone and called him just to gush about how much I was enjoying it.

I finished the book later that day, thought I should have been doing other things, and was delighted to discover that it was brilliant to the very end. (Which isn’t always the case.) When I e-mailed John to tell him that I’d love to blurb it, he offered to donate an Advance Reading Copy to Worldbuilders.

That means if you win it in the auction, the lottery you can read it long before it comes out in June. This will improve your herd rank among other geeks and give you a great opportunity to be smug.

I won’t go on about how much I loved the book. But if you’re really curious, you can read the review I wrote on Goodreads.

  • Six copies of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Signed by the author.

This is one of the handful of books that I liked well enough to blurb last year. The publishers liked the quote well enough that they put it on the back cover of the UK edition:

Laini was also cool enough to send along four copies of the audiobook of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, too. So we’ll add those to the fundraiser as well.

  • Four audio book copies of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

  • One hardcover set of The Mortal Instruments Books One through Three: City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass by Cassandra Clare.  Signed by the author.

“Clare’s atmospheric setting is spot-on, informed equally by neo-gothic horror films and the modern fantasy leanings of Neil Gaiman. Fans of the smart/chic horror typified by Buffy the Vampire Slayer will instantly fall for this new series.” – Publishers Weekly

  • One hardcover set of The Infernal Devices Books One and Two: Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare.  Signed by the author.

“Mysteries, misdirection, and riddles abound. . . . Fans of the Mortal Instruments series and newcomers alike won’t be disappointed.” – Publishers Weekly

  • One paperback set of Goblin Hero and Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines.  Signed by the author.

“Hines recognizes that wisdom is most often common sense, and that mouthing off to the big guy with the sword is a very bad idea.” – Tanya Huff, author of Smoke and Ashes.

  • One hardcover set of Crystal Rain and Ragamuffin by Tobias S. Buckell.  Signed by the author.

“Tobias S. Buckell is a dazzling new voice.” – Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Hominids

“Tobias Buckell is stretching the horizons of science fiction and giving readers a hell of a lot of swashbuckling fun in the bargain.” — John Scalzi, bestselling author of Old Man’s War

  • One first edition hardcover set of The Edge of Reason and The Edge of Ruin by Melinda Snodgrass. Signed by the author.

“If H. P. Lovecraft and H. L. Mencken had ever collaborated, they might have come up with something like The Edge of Reason. This one will delight thinkers-and outrage true believers-of all stripes.” – George R. R. Martin

  • One set of Wild Cards novels: Wild Cards I, Inside Straight, Suicide Kings, and Busted Flush, edited by George R. R. Martin. Signed by many of the authors.

“Delicious… Everything I’d hoped for in a new Wild Cards book. The character interactions and plot twists have exactly the complexity, surprise, and unsentimental realism I’d expect out of a George R. R. Martin project.” – Austin Grossman

  • One set of Jennifer Brozek-edited anthologies and an audiobook of The Tasty Collection, read by Andrew Mayor.  All signed by Jennifer Brozek.

“You’ll hear echoes of Stephen King’s The Stand, David Brin’s The Postman and even Cormac McCarthy’s The Road as you read this series of stories about the survivors of a great plague. The stories are varied and lively, and their talented authors lead you (sometimes kicking and screaming) toward sanctuary.” – Patrick Swenson

  • Two sets of the complete Rai-Kirah series: Transformation, Revelation, and Restoration by Carol Berg.  Signed by the author.

“Superbly textured, splendidly characterized, this spellbinding tale provides myriad delights for the fantasy connoisseur.”  – RT Book Reviews

  • One complete series of The Novels of the Collegia Magica: The Spirit Lens, The Soul Mirror, and The Daemon Prism by Carol Berg.  Signed by the author.

“Set in a world in which the implacable laws of science war with the resonances of magical power for supremacy, Berg’s novel is rich with vivid characters and unforgettable places…an infectiously enjoyable series opener that fans of thought-provoking fantasy and intriguing mystery should appreciate.”  – Library Journal

  • One bound galley of Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg.  Signed by the author.

“Berg brings to life every stone in a peaceful monastery and every nuance in a stratified society, describing the difficult dirty work of ordinary life as beautifully as she conveys the heart-stopping mysticism of holiness just beyond human perception.”  – Sharon Shinn, author of Troubled Waters

  • One US trade paperback re-release of The Song of the Beast by Carol Berg. Signed by the author.

“Berg’s fascinating fantasy is a puzzle story, with a Celtic-flavored setting and a plot as intricate and absorbing as fine Celtic lacework…. the characters are memorable, and Berg’s intelligence and narrative skill make this stand-alone fantasy most commendable.” – Booklist

  • Two first edition hardcover copies of Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. Signed by the author.

“This book is an achievement. Readers… will be transported.” – Sunday Times

  • One hardcover copy of Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed.  Signed by the author.

“Ahmed is a master storyteller in the grand epic tradition.  Swashbuckling adventure, awesome mystery, a bit of horror, and all of it written beautifully.  A real treat!” – N. K. Jemisin, Locus award-wining author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Pat’s Note: This book is also an ARC. The final version of the book won’t be hitting the shelves until June. So if you win it, you get to be reading way ahead of the curve…

“The best debut I’ve read all year! Nightshifted is simply amazing!” – Kat Richardson

  • One set of Jabberwocky and Hatter by Daniel Coleman. Signed by the author.

“The surprising story inspired by Lewis Carroll’s epic poem. You might know how it ends, but you won’t believe how it happens.”

  • Seven Hardcover copies of The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. Signed by the author.

  • Four sets of The Magicians, The Magician King (audio book) and a Brakebills University t-shirt from Lev Grossman. Book and audio book are signed by the author.
Pat’s Note: I did a gushy write-up about The Magicians back when I first read it. I liked it enough to write a blog about it over here.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Take George Martin’s instead: “The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea.”

*     *     *

Well folks, that’s the last of the books for this year.

Remember that for every 10 dollars you donate on the Worldbuilders team page, you get a chance to win these books and many, many more. What’s more, worldbuilders will match your donation by 50%.

We also have a few auctions still running, you can find them over here.

If you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat43 Responses

The League of Reluctant Adults

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Well, after yesterday’s post, we cleared our previous goal of 225,000 dollars, and it was with some hesitation that I moved our new goal up to the full 250K.

I hope we can make it in the next four days.

Today we have a bunch of books donated by The League of Reluctant Adults. A group of authors who have banded together in order to fight crime and protect our world from alien threats. When they’re not doing that, they also maintain a pretty interesting blog.

In this blog, they’ve banded together to send Worldbuilders a bunch of signed books…

  • A first edition of Succubus Blues and the first four issues of Dark Swan by Richelle Mead. All signed by the author.

“Richelle Mead delivers sexy action and tongue-in-cheek hellish humor—if damnation is this fun, sign me up! ” —Lilith Saintcrow.

  • One audio book of Downpour by Kat Richardson. Case is signed by the author.

“Reading a Greywalker novel is the pinnacle of literary escapism for me. It’s full immersion from the very first words. Downpour begins in typical Richardson style – a brilliant hook and a subtle reference to Chandler all in the first few sentences.”–Paul Goat Allen

  • One set of four books of The Simon Canderous Series by Anton Strout. All signed by the author.

“Following Simon’s adventures is like being the pinball in an especially antic game, but it’s well worth the wear and tear.” – Charlaine Harris

Pat’s Note: As I have mentioned on several occasions, Anton Strout is my mortal enemy. He is the focus of many of my evil schemes, and I once had fortune cookies printed up that encouraged people to kill him.

But still, that doesn’t keep us from occasionally doing a podcast together as demonstrated by Episode 18 of his Once and Future Podcast…

  • One copy of A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang. Signed by the author.

“Fun and utterly vibrant! Anyone looking for wit, verve, and a fascinatingly complex world in their urban fantasy can stop right here! Allison Pang has what you need.” – Jill Myles

  • One set of Mark of the Demon, Blood of the Demon, Secrets of the Demon, and Sins of the Demon by Diana Rowland. All are signed by the author.

“Rowland’s hot streak continues as she gives her fans another big helping of urban fantasy goodness!… The plot twists are plentiful and the action is hard-edged. Another great entry in this compelling series.” – RT Book Reviews

  • One copy of My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland. Signed by the author.

“An intriguing mystery and a hilarious mix of the horrific and mundane aspects of zombie life open a promising new series from Rowland… Humor and gore are balanced by surprisingly touching moments.” – Publishers Weekly

  • One set of the Disillusionists: Mind Games and Double Cross by Carolyn Crane. Signed by the author.

Pat’s Note: Disillustionists is one of those titles that I wish I’d come up with first….

“A violent U-turn in a fresh direction… this is urban fantasy’s new shot-in-the-arm.” – National bestselling author Vicki Pettersson

  • One copy of A Shot in the Dark by K. A. Stewart. Signed by the author.

“Lots of fun, deftly witty, and one of the most appealing central characters of recent years.” – New York Times Bestselling Author Simon R. Green

“Dark, dangerous, and delectable…Impossible to put down!” – Gena Showalter, New York Times Bestselling Author

  • One copy of Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells. Signed by the author.

“Hold on tight — a gritty new heroine has joined the pantheon of shoot-first, ask-questions-later protagonists. Despite the blistering pace and darkness of the plot, [Wells] neatly balances things with a deft smattering of humor.” – Romantic Times Book Lovers magazine

  • One set of Staked, Revamped and Crossed by J. F. Lewis. Signed by the author.

“Raucous, raunchy blood-opera… very satisfying.” – Dark Realms magazine

  • One set of The Anna Strong Chronicles by Jeanne C. Stein. Signed by the author.

“A heroine with the charm, savvy and intelligence that fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison will be happy to root for.” – Publishers Weekly

  • One set of The Iron Druid Chronicles: Hounded, Hexed and Hammered by Kevin Hearne. Signed by the author.

Pat’s note: I recently red these and really enjoyed them. Odds are if you enjoy Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, you’ll dig these too….

“Kevin Hearne breathes new life into old myths, creating a world both eerily familiar and startlingly original.” – Nicole Peeler, author of Tempest Rising

Pat’s Note: This is actually an ARC of the book that won’t be released until March. So winning this book not only means you get a cool book and a good read, it means you get to taunt your friends….

“Gritty and raw with powerful truths. An addictive read.” – Sophie Jordan New York Times bestselling author of Firelight

*     *     *

Remember, for every 10 dollars you donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page, you get a chance to win these books and over a thousand others.

To see the other books folks have donated, as well as our auctions, and the items we’re selling in the store, you can head over to our main page HERE.

Or, if you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is running, you can find them over here.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat21 Responses

200K Blog: The Golden Ticket(s)

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Back in 2009 we ran a few Worldbuilders auctions as an experiment to see if people would be interested.

Much to our delight, folks jumped all over the option of bidding on books and rare manuscripts. My read-and-critique sold for over a thousand dollars. In the blog comments people said I should auction things like “Dinner with Pat” or “Have Pat wash your car” or “Run your hands through Pat’s majestic beard.”

There were even a few e-mails requesting I auction… *ahem* intimate things. Things that I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to sell unless you live in some of more socially progressive parts of Nevada.

Anyway, there were a lot of these comments and e-mails, so I decided to have some fun with it.

I decided to auction off a favor. If you won the auction, you could ask me for something. And if it was within my power, I’d do it. (With a few limitations, of course.)

I called the favor the Golden Ticket because it sounded slightly less geeky than referring to it in terms of a D&D spell or a Disney movie:

(Is it just me, or is this picture a little creepy?)

I put it up on e-bay, and to make a long story short, the Golden Ticket sold for over 15,000 dollars.

The auction was a success. But it was a mildly disturbing success. I could *one* person out there who wanted a favor enough to spend 15,000 dollars on it. But for the bidding to get that high meant there had to be TWO people like that. It weirded me out a bit…

Over the years, hundreds of people have asked what the winner wanted. My response has usually been, “I should really post about that on the blog, shouldn’t I?”

So, finally, here’s the answer:

The winner was Bill Schaefer of Subterranean Press. (He’s the one who published The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle.)

What happened was this: When Bill found out about the auction, he called me up and asked if he could use the golden ticket to get me to write a novella for Subterranean press.

At this point, the bidding was already at a couple thousand dollars. So I told him, “Sure. But you’ll have to wait until I’m done with book two. People would kill me if I did a story with you before I finished that….”

Bill agreed, then waded into the bidding, fists swinging. In the end, he won. What’s more, he offered to buy the novella from me and pay the $15,000 to Worldbuilders out of his profits. Which means he was effectively paying for it twice.

Since then, Bill has been waiting with Buddha-like patience for his story. After three years, the novella is almost finished. It’s the main thing I worked on when I tried NaNoWriMo this year.

And to preemptively answer your questions: There’s no title yet. There’s no pub date yet. You can’t order it yet.

Rest assured that I’ll post about it here as soon as there’s solid news to share.

Since then there have been a few other golden ticket winners. When cashing in their favors, people have requested that I:

  • Have dinner with them while we were both out at San Diego Comic-Con.
  • Come to their college and do a reading/workshop about creative writing.
  • Give them a full body massage.

I’m just kidding about the last one. Probably.

There. Now that you know the story of the previous Golden Ticket winners. Let’s add two to this year’s fundraiser:

Edit: Just to be clear, I’m adding two tickets. One is going into the general lottery. The second is being auctioned off on e-bay.

  • The Golden Ticket.

This is going into the general lottery. That means anyone who donates at least 10 dollars on the Worldbuilders team page has a chance to win it. The more you donate, the better your chances.

This year though, some things will be different.

Here’s a few details you should know:

The golden ticket will actually be a ring.

I figure if I’m going to keep doing this, I should stop stealing from Roald Dahl’s books and start stealing from my own.

So, in the fine traditions of the Maer’s court, you’ll be getting a gold ring with my name on it. The ring will be real gold, designed by the same lovely folk at Badali Jewelry who did the Eolian talent pipes.

(In a perfect world, I’d have a picture of the ring to show you. But the design isn’t finished yet. Just trust me for now. The folks at Badali do amazing work. It will be cool.)

This ring will be the physical embodiment of the favor. When you want to cash in the favor, you’ll give the ring back to me. If you want to keep the ring forever, you can. You can keep it forever and never cash in the favor at all, if that’s what you want to do.

If you give the ring to a friend, then they give it to me, I’ll do a favor for them instead.

If you lose the ring, you’re screwed. You’ve lost the favor.

For more than a month now, I’ve been trying to decide if this is a stupid idea. I’ve worried it will make me look too geeky.

And you know what? I decided I don’t care if it’s kinda geeky. I mean really, what’s the point of being a fantasy author if you can’t be a bit of a geek now and then?

What sort of favor can you ask for?

Here are some guidelines:

1. The favor has to be legal. (More or less.)
2. The favor has to be something I can actually do. (Duh)
3. The favor can’t be something I find morally reprehensible.

I won’t do something like endorse a political candidate I found disgusting. Along a similar line, wouldn’t blurb your book as a favor. I’d *read* it as a favor, and if I really enjoyed it I’d give it a blurb. But blurbing a book I don’t *really* like would be dishonest.

Other than that, the rules are going to be old-fashioned common sense. No, I won’t give you all my money. No, I won’t kick a puppy. No, I won’t change book three so that, say, Kvothe and Elodin have a sex scene. Or Kvothe and Ambrose have a sex scene. Or so someone dies, or doesn’t die, or has a threesome with Bast and Chronicler, or whatever. Sorry.

What *can* you ask for? Here’s a few things I’d easily agree to:

  • We can hang out over dinner at a convention we’re both attending.
  • I’d critique your manuscript.
  • I’d come to your convention or do a reading at your local library/bookstore.
  • I’d perform your wedding ceremony. (Someone asked about this.)
  • I’d put your name in book three.
  • I’d let you be a beta reader for some of my upcoming stories.

Some things will require a little negotiation, of course. I’ve discussed getting your name in the book on the blog before, for example.

Similarly, if someone wanted me to come out to their house, make them dinner, and tell them a story, I’d be cool with it provided:

1) They didn’t mind waiting until I can work it into my travel plans.
2) They like pasta.
3) They don’t kill me and wear my skin like a coat.

See how easy I am to work with?

Now that that’s clear. Let’s put another golden ticket up for auction:

  • AUCTION: The Golden Ticket.

(It won’t really look like the One Ring. It won’t be surrounded by fire, either. But trust me, it will still look cool.)

Bill from Subterranean has told me that he will be bowing out of the auction this year. So as of now it’s anyone’s game.

Rather than get bogged down in endless rules or examples. Here’s the plain-language commitment I’m making to you if you win this auction.

If you win the golden ticket, I’ll do my level best to fulfill any reasonable favor you ask of me.

Click here to bid on the Golden Ticket auction.

Or, if you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can click  here.

*     *     *

Remember, if you chip in on our team page before February 7th, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation. And every $10 you donate gives you a chance to win all manner of cool stuff in the lottery.

If you want to see the other items that have been donated, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main Worldbuilders page.

Also posted in Golden Ticket | By Pat78 Responses

150K Blog: Rare Books and a Chance to Game with Pat

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

As I write this, we’ve raised over $202,000 which means we’ve beaten last year’s total by over ten thousand dollars.

This seems to indicate that we, as a group, are awesome.

I’m going to celebrate by moving our donation goal up to 225K. Part of me wants to shoot for 250K. It would be nice to say, “We raised a quarter million dollars this year.” But we only have a week left, and I don’t want my reach to exceed my grasp….

Unfortunately, this burst of generosity draws attention to the fact that I haven’t posted the 150K bonus blog yet.

I’ve been slow posting this blog because I wanted to do something a special for this milestone. Specifically, I wanted to post up a video of me reading a picture book to y’all.

The book is called Beatrice’s Goat, and it’s the story that made me fall in love with Heifer International.

I’m donating 10 copies to the fundraiser:

I’ve been planning this for months. I got permission from Heifer International to read the book in a video. I found a guy that does video editing here in Stevens Point. I looked into the proper pronunciations for the names….

I even (and this should really underline how seriously I was taking things) got a haircut so I wouldn’t look like a hobo on the video. Or at the very least, I’d look like a halfway respectable hobo.

Lastly, in a stroke of genius, I decided to bring my son into the project. He’s way more photogenic than I am, and he loves books. Why wouldn’t I shoot a video of me reading the book to him?

So yesterday I got the edited video back, sat down to to watch it…. and was appalled.

The problem is my voice, you see. I never realized that my voice goes up about three quarters of an octave when I read to little Oot.

You know how that uncomfortable feeling you get when you hear your own voice played back from a recording? That’s how I felt watching the video, except about a hundred times worse. I was in a constant state of cringe.

I know it’s a silly thing to be embarrassed about, but I don’t know if I want a video out there of me reading to my son in this goofy-ass voice.

Why am I telling y’all this? Well, over the last month, I’ve told a lot of people that I was planning on posting the video, so I figured I owed you an explanation as to why I’m not posting it up here with the books.

Sorry to sissy out on y’all…. Let me make it up to you by tossing some more cool stuff into the fundraiser.

*     *     *

As some of you on facebook might have already seen, when I was out at Confusion a week ago, a bunch of authors got together and played a game of D&D. Old school D&D. AD&D.

There was a lot of talent at the table: Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Jim Hines, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, and Jay Lake. Myke Cole and Saladin Ahmed ran things.

Brent Weeks did a write up of the adventure over here, if you want to hear the epic details of how we were almost killed by goblins.

Simply said, it was a great time. I got to cast Magic Missile and everything.

In order to pass on some of the geeky love, I’ve decided to run a game at the next convention I’m attending: Stellarcon 36.

So if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have an adventure in the Four Corners, this is your chance to find out.

The winners of this auction will get to play in a one-shot role-playing geekfest set in the Four Corners world. You will join Pat Rothfuss and Steve Long of HERO Games for a collaborative storytelling experience of such intensity that it will doubtless leave you a shattered wreck of a human being.

Pat will pre-generate characters and provide a brief explanation of the HERO gaming system. (You don’t need to know the system in order to play and enjoy the game.) The game will be run on Saturday, March 3, 2012 in the afternoon or evening.

In addition to a seat at the gaming table, the winners of these auctions will receive free memberships to StellarCon 36 where the game will be held.

StellarCon 36 runs from March 2nd – 4th, 2012. The convention will be held at the Best Western High Point Hotel in High Point, North Carolina.

Please note: this auction does not include food, lodging, or transportation to the convention.

Two more seats will be in auctioned or raffled off at the convention itself on March 3rd. Folks who are through registration by 11:00 AM will definitely still be able to throw their name in the hat and/or bid on those at the convention.

You can bid on the first game seat here.

The second seat here.

And the third seat here.

Or you can stalk all the auctions at once by following this link.

  • 10 first edition hardcover copies of The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. The first WMF books ever signed by Pat.

I wasn’t going to include any copies of my book in the fundraiser, then Penguin sent a couple boxes of books along to help out with the fundraiser.

They were the last remaining books that I signed in New York back in January of 2011, months before the book was even out. I wrote about the surreal experience in the blog.

I’ve taken the liberty of dating these books January 26, 2011. Which makes them something of a rarity, as they’re dated two months before the publication date.

  • One hardcover copy of Subterranean Press’s Tales of Dark Fantasy.

A long out-of-print collection featuring an early version of my short story, “The Road to Levinshir,” as well as stories by other notable authors like Mike Carey and Poppy Z Bright.

  • Three first edition copies of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. Signed by the authors and doodled by Nate Taylor.

These are first edition copies that Nate was kind enough to doodle in:

I wish I could doodle….

  • Three hardcover copies of Gollancz 50th anniversary edition of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

Gollancz printed retro-style copies of 5 classic fantasy books in celebration of their 50th year in publishing. The fact that Name of the Wind made it into the mix still makes me blushy with pride.

The introduction in this book by Steaphen Deas makes me kinda blushy, too.

  • One copy of Your College Survival Guide. Signed by Patrick Rothfuss and doodled by B.J. Hiorns.

This book was my first publication from back in 2005. A shameful piece of my sordid past.

It’s a collection of of humor columns I wrote for the college paper between 1999 and 2003. Columns dealt with pressing philosophical issues such as the fast zombie/slow zombie debate as well as everyday problems like how to bribe your professor or start a career as a prostitute.

The book is full of illustrations by BJ Hiorns, the same guy that occasionally illustrates my blog. It also contains annotations where I explain how some columns got written, the lies I told, and what sort of trouble various jokes got me into.

Only 500 of these were printed, and I have less than a dozen left.

The last time I looked online, the only ones I could find were being sold for over 800 bucks on Amazon:

Here’s the doodle Brett did in this one.

You can see why I love him….

  • AUCTION: One-of-a-kind Leather-bound Hardcover of  The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

(Click to Embiggen. It’s worth it.)

Last but not least, we have a real gem.

This is a one-of-a-kind copy of The Name of the Wind, hand-bound in leather by bookbinder Hunter Ford.

This hardcover book is bound in blue Northamptonshire goat leather and decorated with gold acrylic paint. Printed on acid-free paper with marbled end pages, it is 636 pages with size 12 font and narrow margins.

It’s not just a rare book, it’s a unique book. And I’ll gladly sign it to the winner, if the winner so desires.

Our thanks to Hunter Ford for this treasure.

To see more pictures or bid on this book, click here.

*     *     *

Remember, for every 10 dollars you donate on our Team Page, you get a chance to win these books and many more.

Even better, if you chip in before February 7th of 2012, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation.

If you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can find them over here.

Or, if you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

Also posted in a billion links, BJ Hiorns Art, gaming, geeking out, Tales from the Con | By Pat40 Responses

Gaiman and Goats: Gifts that Keep on Giving

Those of you who have been following Worldbuilders for a couple years will probably recognize this book.

It’s a book with a story behind it. And the story goes like this.

2008: A gift from Gaiman.

On a whim in 2008, I decided to try raising money for Heifer International. Things quickly spiraled out of control (in a good way) and soon all sorts of authors were mentioning the fundraiser on their blogs and donating books to help out.

The pinnacle of the coolness/madness came when Neil Gaiman mentioned us to his vast legion of readers. He also donated a rare ARC of Stardust to the cause.

Unfortunately, the mail was slow around the holidays, and we didn’t get hold of the book until after that year’s fundraiser was over. That meant we couldn’t use it until….

2009: Stardust for the people.

The second year of the fundraiser was going well, but I was having a hard time deciding how best to use Gaiman’s beautiful donation. I knew I could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars…. but that didn’t seem right somehow.

So in the end, I decided to put it into the lottery, that way anyone who donated to Heifer on our team page would have a chance at winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

At the end of the fundraiser someone wins it, and in a surprise turn of generosity, they donate it straight back to Worldbuilders. Their one stipulation is that I auction it off next year, so it can bring in more money for Heifer next year.

2010: Stardust on the auction block.

During year three of Worldbuilders, we auctioned off all manner of things. And as the previous winner requested, we put Gaiman’s copy of the Stardust ARC up on e-bay 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 died-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 that most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He thinks she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible through Heifer.

Dan also said that he was a big Gaiman fan, and that he hoped that this whole exchange didn’t give Gaiman a complex because nobody would keep his book….

Dan’s only stipulation was that we put the book back into the general lottery next year, so anyone would be able to win it….

2011: Full circle.

As per Dan’s request, we’re not including the ARC in the Worldbuilders auctions this year. (Though we do have some other stuff in there from Gaiman and some other big-name authors, if you want to go look.)

Instead, we’re putting the book back into the general lottery, where anyone can win it:

  • A rare, numbered ARC of Stardust. 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.

You have a chance of winning it if you donate on our Team Heifer page before Feb 7th.

How much of a chance do you have of winning this book or one of the other thousands of books that have been donated to the fundraiser?

Well, funny you should ask, because today I’ve been doing a little math….

A brief discussion of odds.

Last year, I tried to calculate what the odds of winning a book from Worldbuilders would be. After careful calculation, I shamed myself by declaring that if someone donated 170 dollars to the fundraiser, they would have a better than 100% chance of winning a prize.

Specifically, they’d have a  106.25 % chance of winning something.

It was bold math, considering the fact that conventional wisdom tells us you can’t have more than 100% likelihood of anything happening.

Luckily some of my clever readers clued me in to the fact that while my math was strong, my understanding of binomial distributions was somewhat flawed.

I’d like to suggest that my carefully calculated 106.25% actually reflected the likelihood of winning a prize in any number of alternate realities, combined with the chance of having two prizes delivered to your house due to a shipping mistake at the post office.

Yeah. Not my proudest math moment. You can see the whole shameful thing over here if you’re interested.

Anyway, this year I looked up what the hell a binomial was and brought in some helpful facebook friends to check my math.

For those of you who don’t care about the numbers, here’s the non-math version:

We have so many books.

(Click to Embiggen and you can actually read the titles….)

This isn’t even all of them. This is just the books on one wall that we’ve put up on the blog. We’ve got another 100-150 books that we’ll be adding before the fundraiser is over on Feb 7th.

So let’s say you donate 20 bucks, enough to give a family a flock ducklings.

Your odds of winning something are really good. They’re like, a hajillion times better than winning the lottery. Roughly two-point-five hajillion times better.

For those of you who do like numbers, here’s the mathy version:

As of now, we’ve raised $185,000 for Heifer, and there are almost exactly 800 prizes in the fundraiser. Not just 800 books. (We’ve got way more than that.) There’s 800 prizes you can win, a lot of those prizes are sets of books, trilogies or longer series. Other prizes are limited editions, signed by the authors, or otherwise rare.

So let’s say you donate $30. That’s enough to give a family a hive of bees that will provide honey and pollinate plants, increasing the productivity of farms and gardens throughout the community.

With that $30 donation, your odds of winning at least one prize are better than 12%.

You could donate $120. That’s enough to buy a family a goat. The milk the goat produces means children have more protein and calcium in their diets, and the family can sell the extra milk as a source of income.

With that $120 donation, your odds of winning at least one prize are over 40%. Your odds of winning more than one prize are about 10%.

Let’s say you go all the way and donate $500, enough to buy a Heifer.

There’s a reason the project’s called Heifer International, you know. As their website says:

A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day – enough for a family to drink and share with neighbors. Milk protein transforms sick, malnourished children into healthy boys and girls. The sale of surplus milk earns money for school fees, medicine, clothing and home improvements.

Better still, every gift multiplies. The animal’s first offspring is passed to another family. That family also agrees to pass on an animal, and so on. Because a healthy cow can produce a calf every year, a single heifer will eventually help an entire community move from poverty to self-reliance.

If that isn’t enough for you, you should know that a $500 dollar donation gives you a 90% chance of winning some swag.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you donate on our team page before Feb 7th, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation. So in addition to getting good odds, and doing good work, you’re getting a good deal with a matching donation, too.

Will these odds change over time? Yeah. A little. As people donate more money, the odds will go down a bit. But we’re going to be adding new books to the fundraiser almost every day for the next week, and that will bring the odds back up.

*     *     *

Y’know, I didn’t plan on this being a long blog. My plan was to talk about Gaiman’s book, throw some odds at you, and call it an early evening.

The truth is, the Worldbuilders is a lot of work on this end, and I’ve been close to burning out. But looking at these pictures and talking about the good work that Heifer does… it’s actually made me excited about the fundraiser again.

Here are some kids in Romania that are growing up happier and healthier because of Heifer. You and me, we’re actually helping make this happen.

How cool is that?

We’ve got a little more than a week left, and I still have books to show you. We have a few more auctions to run, too.

Right now, if you really want to help, the best thing you can do is help spread the word. Talk to your friends. Drop your parents an e-mail. Point people toward the main Worldbuilders blog so they can see all the books that authors and publishers have donated.

Facebook it. Tweet it. Tell that cute hippy boy/girl in the coffee shop about it. You’ve been looking for an excuse to talk to them anyway, and this will make a great conversation starter….

We’ve got a week left, let’s go out with a bang.


P.S. Some of our auctions will be ending soon. You might want to check them out before they’re finished.

Also posted in fan coolness, Neil Gaiman, Stardust ARC | By Pat36 Responses
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