Category Archives: videos

Bad Analogies, Kielbasa, and all-star D&D returns…

Hey there everybody,

It feels like it’s been a hundred years since the fundraiser, and it also feels just like yesterday. I don’t know if 2020 has permanently damaged my ability to perceive time in an accurate way, or if this is just my regular post-December recovery and fugue state.

Things are going good around here. Though as I type that, I pause and think, “Hold on, that can’t be right. Everything’s awful forever now. Right? Hold on. Let me check my notes….”

Then I riffle through some papers in my head and think, Yeah, it’s still pandemic o’clock. Politics… still there. Isolation and quarantine, check. What’s wrong with me that I feel like I can say things are good?

But… that’s not *all* that’s going on, right? Vaccines are happening, too. That’s nice. We haven’t had a natural disaster in maybe three months or so? I found a new Korean restaurant in town with really nice dumplings….

Oh. Also we have a new president now, which is pretty fucking great. And democracy is still… kinda here? Mostly? Like a car we weren’t sure was going to get us all the way home through the Furiosa-style dystopian wasteland, but it did. Sure we were driving the last bit on the rims, and the windshield is gone, and it’s chugging and smoking and it looks like we tried to have a poorly-negotiated threeway with an anklyosaur and Zuul. But it got us all the way into the garage, and now we can take a deep, shaky breath and spend a *lot* of time repairing it.

Okay. Maybe that’s not my best analogy ever. Let me try again.

You know the incessant low, thrumming dread you feel when you’re really nauseous for a long time, followed by the sour, hunched misery of puking your guts out? It’s a pretty universal human experience, and we can all agree for the most part that it sucks.

But do you also remember how *good* you feel when you *stop* throwing up?

I think that’s what I’m feeling right now. Like all of 2020 was me just puking and puking forever. And now that I’m not anymore, it’s just nice.

I mean, is this the world I’d wish for if I had a pet Genie? No. You can tell because Firefly is still canceled and pizza has calories.

But you know what? There are still good things in the world. Plus my books are here. Right now, I’m pretty happy with half a loaf.

*      *      *

So far, this year has been fairly low-key over here at Rothco. I’ve been catching up on my sleep and getting my house in order. (Both literally and figuratively. My underwear drawer is *orderly* folks.) I’ve been livestreaming over on twitch fairly regularly. I’m mostly continuing my second play-through of Numenera, but I also dipped in to do some Among Us with Felicia and her crew last week. A game where I was categorically bad at everything and was forced to resort to use my Bene Gesserit powers.

Here’s a moment from that stream that I’m particularly proud/ashamed of.

It’s the first highlight I’ve ever made of a stream, but I’m not smart enough to embed it here, apparently.

On the home front, I’ve mostly been focusing on spending time with the boys. We’re currently reading The Princess Bride (which starts really slow, but picks up nicely after the introduction.) I help the boys stay on top of their at-home school stuff and deal with not being able to see their friends in person.

(Yeah. I’m 100% that dad.)

We’ve also been wrapping up the Fundraiser. While most of the flashiness of that happens in December, there’s a lot of organizing that happens beforehand, and a lot of tying up of loose ends afterwards. But despite the mad state of the world, I think we’re more on top of those things than we’ve been in years. It’s a good feeling.

Those of you who were tuned in for the fundraiser this year probably caught some of the games we played online to help spread the word about our shindig. I *hope* most of you caught at least a few of them, because this year’s games turned out amazingly.

Especially this one:

Let me tell you, folks. I’ve played some D&D in my day. I hang with some cool cats. I even occasionally pull up on with the new whip,  though I’ll admit that’s exceedingly rare.

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve had the luxury of playing with a lot of really amazing folks over the years. So hear me when I say that this game was as much fun as I’ve had in YEARS. My first time *ever* playing a bard.

That would be impressive enough, but what makes it truly crazy is that this if the first time I’ve ever played with half of the other folks at the table. Brennan, Saige, and Aabria were complete strangers at the start of the video. And I didn’t even know B Dave four months ago…

Despite that, it was so much fun that at the end of it, everyone said they really wanted to come together and play again…. if we hit a follow-up charity stretch goal. It was terribly sweet, as they’re all busy people.

But we hit that goal. And now we’re getting the band back together. This weekend.

That’s right. We’ll be getting together to continue this adventure on Saturday, January 30th, from 2-5 pm, CST.

After we played the first time, I said I’d post up a blog with everyone’s info, so you could find them all on in their various fastnesses and demesnes out there on the webs.  I view this as a service to the community, as they deserve more attention than they get, and your dreary, turgid quarantine-laden existences will be vastly improved by getting more of them directly into your eye-holes.

(For those of you who have been waiting for this, sorry it’s taken so long.)

Our cool cast (and where to find them!):

B. Dave Walters is a Storyteller & proud Scoundrel American. He is best known as the writer and co-creator of Electropunk, Dungeons & Dragons: A Darkened Wish for IDW comics, and creator and DM of the Darkened Wish streaming show for Wizards of the Coast. He plays Baron Victor Temple on Vampire the Masquerade: LA by Night on World of Darkness Twitch and Freely on Silver & Steel on D&D Beyond on Twitch.

Taliesin Jaffe is an American actor, voice actor, ADR director and screenwriter. He is a regular cast member of the Dungeons & Dragons actual play series Critical Role, playing Percival de Rolo (“Percy”), Mollymauk Tealeaf (“Molly”), and Caduceus Clay.

Aabria is an American GM and RPG player that has contributed to a multitude of projects, including Failed Save on PixelCircus, Creature Collectors on Critical Bard, and hosting the Storybenders Podcast.

Performing Artist, Communication Specialist, Consultant, E-Sports Professional, Miss Oregon USA 2011, and overall Entertainer, Anna Prosser wears many hats, but for one purpose – to make a positive impact on the world around her! Anna can currently be seen on Echoes Of Eternity each Monday at 6pm PT and Extra Brains each Friday at 1pm PT on her Twitch channel. She can also be seen playing on Nights Of Eveningstar on the official D&D Twitch channel each Tuesday at 4pm PT.

Saige Ryan is an Actress, Host, Singer, and Dancer born and raised in California. She began dancing at the age of 3 and began her acting career at just 7 years old. You may recognize her from films such as I Heart Huckabees, Believers, Forget Me Not, and Maybe Someday, or her 40+ national commercials. The film Maybe Someday in which Saige plays the lead role of Abigail Donnelly was nominated for Best Picture at the 2016 Carmel film festival, and recently released on digital platforms. Saige can currently be seen contributing to the PixelCircus Twitch channel and streaming on her channel at Twitch.tv/NotSaige.

Brennan Lee Mulligan is an award-winning actor, writer, creator and producer. As a cast member of CollegeHumor, he wrote and starred in the sketch Tide CEO, which won a 2019 Webby Award and received over seven million views. He is executive producer, writer and Game Master of Dimension 20, a series produced for the CH streaming service Dropout, and also hosts Dropout’s fantasy gaming vodcast, The Adventuring Academy. Brennan is author and co-creator of the popular webcomic and graphic novel series, Strong Female Protagonist, which was selected as an Autostraddle Favorite, and was on io9’s list of Best New and Short Webcomics.

Little is known of this rare salt-type murder-hobo. This elusive narrativore does not take well to captivity, and while rarely seen in the wild, he occasionally strays near urban areas, where his barbaric yawps can be heard for a distance of up to two miles at night. Sleep cycle: Crepuscular. Mode of locomotion: sessile. Verbosity: Gregarious with occasional yeeting.

God it’s late. I don’t know what I’m even saying anymore. Bed for me.

Hope y’all are well. Hope to see some of you this Saturday for the game….

pat

Also posted in a billion links, a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Beautiful Games, cool things, gaming, geeking out, Worldbuilders 2020 | By Pat62 Responses

Final day of the Fundraiser! Come see the celebratory Stretch goal videos!

Heya everyone!

It’s the final day of our big Worldbuilders Fundraiser, we’re at $900,000 already, with almost twelve hours to go, and I thought I’d share a bunch of the cool stretch goals that have been unlocked where cool people have been helping us spread the world about what we’re doing.

Check them out. Feel the joy, and please share them around on your social media. Today’s our last chance to get the word out….

(Here’s a link to my Team page, if you’re interested.)

Unlocked Worldbuilders Stretch Goal Videos:

 

If any of these brought you joy, and you’d like to help us make the world a better place while winning cool prizes, you can donate over here:

Also posted in cool things, Worldbuilders | By PatLeave a comment

Animated Name of the Wind????

Pssst. Hey. Everybody. Wanna see something cool as hell?

Here you go….

Thanks to the Delightful Ethan Becker who made this. You’ve brightened my day….

Share and enjoy.

pat

Also posted in cool things | By Pat218 Responses

Pontificating on True Monsters

A while back, the some folks contacted me and asked if I’d like to talk about monsters and stories and mythology and stuff for a show they were putting together for the History Channel.

(I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

It wasn’t a hard decision. I’m all about talking about stories and mythology. Stuff is right up my alley, too.

And… Ah… who are we kidding? I just like to talk. If I didn’t have access to the internet, I’d constantly be pulling Ancient Mariner bullshit on people.

Anyway, the first episode went up last week Friday. Here’s a little teaser.

You can watch the entire episode right here. Brandon Sanderson is there too, better dressed and more articulate than me.

Before you rush over there and get your hopes up, I’m not in much of the episode. Part of this is because I didn’t have much to say about things like the Jersey Devil or Hel (The Norse Hel).

But a contributing factor is the fact that I have trouble talking in soundbites. Anyone who has seen me on panels at conventions knows this. When I’m asked a question, your best case scenario is that I’m going to talk a paragraph at you. More often my answer will probably be a little story of its own with its own distinct narrative arc. It’s the only way I really know how to talk. That doesn’t translate well onto camera.

Super impressed with my shiny name

Also, I was so impressed with how shiny my name was that I wore this expression all the way through the interview.

Seriously though, I spent most of my interview telling stories, making jokes, and cussing with extravagant flamboyance. Which, in retrospect, probably wasn’t what they were looking for. Though I do remember getting good laughs off the camera crew…

There are going to be 3 more episodes. I’m particularly curious about how #3 turned out: Gods and Monsters. I remember talking at some length about Loki fucking a horse. Which… now that I’m thinking of it… they might not put that in the episode either.

Blowing it off 2

Anyway, here’s the schedule:

  • Cannibals and Killers – Friday, October 16th, 2015 at 10pm EST / 9pm CST
  • Gods and Monsters – Friday, October 23rd, 2015 at 10pm EST / 9pm CST
  • Giants and Beasts – Friday, October 30th, 2015 at 10pm EST / 9pm CST

You could make a drinking game out of it. Every time they put me on the screen – take a drink. Every time I give a Midwestern pause in the middle of a statement – two drinks. Every time I laugh at one of my own jokes – three drinks. Every time they have to bleep me – do a shot.

That’s all for now, folks. Share and enjoy.

pat

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, appearances, Interviews | By Pat23 Responses

Professional Manuscript Critiques

Edit: If you’re still hoping to get a manuscript critique, there’s a WriMos for Worldbuilders page with some available in a special lottery this year that you should really check out…

As I write this, Worldbuilders has raised more than $92,000 for Heifer International.

So here’s a video. I could claim I’m posting it because it explains what we’re doing here at Worldbuilders, but that would be a lie. I’m posting it because my kids are in it, and my kids are seriously adorable.

So there you go. That’s what we’re doing. You can donate directly to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, making the world a better place while (hopefully) winning fabulous prizes.

Or you can check out the Read-And-Critique auctions below….

*     *     *

Today we’re auctioning off professional manuscript critiques from authors, editors, and agents.

This is an exceptionally rare opportunity. Authors occasionally read a manuscript for a friend, or do a quick critique at a convention. But if you want this sort of professional attention you usually have to attend a pretty serious workshop, like Clarion. Or you have to be a student at one of the rare universities that takes sci-fi and fantasy seriously enough to bring in a professional to teach a class.

You’ll notice that I personally don’t have a critique in today’s blog. That’s because if you win the favor auction I’m running, you can cash in that favor for a read-and-critique. Any manuscript. Any size. I’ll read the whole thing, mark it up, then call you on the phone and talk about it with you.

Now, before I list all the read-and-critique auctions, I’m going to have to put on my Dad Voice: a voice which contains all the baritone authority of my teacher voice, with an added subharmonic that implies if you screw this up, I’m going to be *really* disappointed in you.

“Please read the auction descriptions carefully.”

Each author, editor, or agent is handling their auction in their own way…

  • Everyone has different skill sets, and they’re each offering something slightly different.
  • Some critiques are for 15,000 words of a manuscript, others are for 150,000 words.
  • The professionals below are busy people. Critiques will have to fit in their schedules.
  • When auctions mention “X pages” of a manuscript, that’s standard manuscript format.
  • Most importantly, you’re not buying an introduction to someone’s agent or editor here. You’re not winning representation with an agent. Or a foot in the door with an editor. That’s not what’s on the block. You’re getting writing advice from a professional.

Okay. Enough preamble. Let’s move on to the awesome….

jaimeLeeMoyer_logoFinalJaime Lee Moyer is a speculative fiction writer, poet, and editor. She’s been offering up a read-and-critique with us for years, and we’re thrilled to have her back. She’s willing to comment on plot, pacing, character arc, voice, how well the “hook” or opening works, how well the story sustains her interest, and give overall, general impressions of the story. This will seriously help your story.

If you want to bid on this, head over here.

CassieAlexander

We’re always really grateful when people offer critiques that include feedback of the query letter and synopsis too. Because honestly, my lack of ability to write a decent query letter probably slowed down publication of The Name of the Wind by two years.

That’s what Cassie is offering here: a full critique includes your query letter, synopsis, and the first 15,000 words of your manuscript.

Here’s what a previous auction winner said of her critique:

“It was definitely worth it, and was probably the thing that’s helped with my writing the most. You were hard hitting on points that needed to be said, but still really supportive and complimented the things I did right. People couldn’t ask for a better person to critique their work.”

If you want to get your work critiqued by Cassie, bid over here.

Jen

Jennifer has been a literary agent since 2011, and is offering up a critique of your query letter, synopsis, and the first 15,000 words of your manuscript. She’s helped us out a in the past, and as an agent, she’s seen a *lot* of these, and has some valuable experience to share.

Bid on it over here.

  • David Pomerico will give a critique and commentary of the first 50 pages of your manuscript.

David Pomerico

David has been throwing his hat into the ring for these auctions for years, and is now the Executive Editor at Harper Voyager. He’s worked with some big names, including some New York Times bestsellers. (If you want more details, check out his auction listing).

He’s willing to read and give a detailed critique of the first 50 pages of your manuscript. You can head over here and bid.

josh

Josh is a fellow DAW author, and he’s kicked in critiques in the past. This year, he’s willing to read the first 100 pages of your novel and give you detailed notes and a general evaluation of the opening as well.

If you want this critique, there are more details over here.

josh

Not everybody writes novels. So Josh is offering up a read-and-critique of your short story. It will including a general evaluation of the story as well as some detailed notes and comments.

If you’ve got a short story, this is the guy for you. Bid on this critique over here.

  • Michael Braff will read and critique the first 50 pages of your manuscript.

Mike Braff

Michael is an editor at Del Rey, and has been for six years. He’s thrown in his critiques more than once in the past, and we’re happy to have him on board again. He’s willing to give a detailed critique and commentary of the first 50 pages of your manuscript, rounded up to the nearest chapter, which is generous.

If you want this one, bid here.

  • Michael Martinez will critique up to 25,000 words of your SF/F novel or shorter work.

Mike Martinez

Michael Martinez is an author, and is willing to read up to 25,000 words of any sci-fi or fantasy work you bring to him. He’ll give you an overall opinion, his thoughts on individual sections, and ideas on direction and ways to improve. He’s said that he’s happy to engage in a dialogue with you, which is definitely worth something.

Bid on this one over here.

  • David B. Coe will critique up to 15,000 words of your manuscript.

DavidBCoe

David B. Coe (also known as D.B. Jackson) is willing to critique some short fiction or the early chapters of your novel. He’s a prolific writer (he has 3 books coming out in 2015 alone), and he’s supported Worldbuilders for a good long time, so we really like him.

If you want a novel or short story critique, head over here and bid.

Bradley P. Beaulieu

Bradley P. Beaulieu graciously offered one story or chapter critique of up to 10,000 words. Brad’s offered critiques in the past, and everyone at Worldbuilders was glad to see him back again for more. Apart from writing a ridiculous amount of epic fantasy, Brad also kicked in a stretch goal last year, because he’s cool like that.

If you would like to bask in the coolness, by all means bid over here.

  • Michael R. Underwood will critique your submission packet AND have a Skype consultation on the feedback.

Michael R. Underwood

Mike writes a lot about geekiness, which is always a bonus in our book. This year, he’s willing to critique your query letter, synopsis, and the first 10,000 words of your manuscript. He will then have a Skype conversation with you to discuss the feedback, which we think is extra cool.

If you want your entire packet critiqued, head over here and bid.

  • Matt Bialer, my agent, will read up to 20,000 words of your manuscript.

Matt Bialer

Matt kicks in this critique every year. And my book would not be as good as it is today without him and his help.

He’s offering up a general evaluation of the book, with the perspective of the issues that could be raised by editors at publishing houses. It’s a really great perspective to have.

Matt also managed to jump in with us this morning, so his auction will be live later tonight. You’ll be able to bid on this one over here as soon as it’s live.

  • Worldbuilders Monkey Brett will read and critique your manuscript.

Brett Monkey

Brett has been one of my longest standing friends and readers. He’s given me invaluable feedback on all my books, Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear, and The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

What’s more, he’s a great writer in his own right. Not only is he currently the voice behind a lot of the Worldbuilders website content and auction descriptions, he’s done webcomic work, amusing movie reviews, and plenty of longer-form horror fiction. He also has a brilliant novel waiting in the wings that I keep pestering him to publish, too….

Suffice to say, he does great critique. If you want to get his advice on your work, bid here.

* * *

Lastly, a success story.

Back in 2010, Gabriel Squailia won a read and critique in a Worldbuilders auction. He got it from my agent, Matt Bialer, and Matt was impressed enough to offer to represent Gabriel.

In spring of 2015, Gabriel’s first book is going to be published.

DeadBoysCover

We here at Worldbuilders think this is pretty awesome.

Now let me say it again. We’re not in any way claiming that this sort of thing will happen if you win one of the auctions. You’re buying a critique, and that’s it. Even so, this is proof that these critiques can lead to good things. It could happen. It has happened.

So there you go. Here’s a link to all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running. Keep in mind that there’s enough of them that they spill onto a second page.

Keep being awesome people.

pat

Also posted in Cutie Snoo, Oot, the business of writing, the craft of writing, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat16 Responses

On the Cusp of Awesome: Worldbuilders is Nigh

Hey there everybody. We’ve got an announcement to make… but we figured we’d do it in video format.

That’s right. It’s almost time for Worldbuilders.

This year’s fundraiser and Carnival of Delights will be November 10th through December 8th.

Worldbuilders-Logo_Web_Smaller

You’ll note two differences from last year.

1. We’re starting earlier.

Those of you who have been around since the beginning might remember that Worldbuilders was originally a November event. But over the years, as I became increasingly busy and decreasingly organized, the fundraiser slowly got pushed back a little at at time until it wasn’t even starting until December.

In some ways this was nice, as people tend to feel generous around the holidays.

But the downside is that everyone tends to be insanely *busy* around the holidays, too. Students have end-of-semester chaos. Parents have holiday shopping. Most everyone has some sort of family gathering. All of that means it’s really hard to get people’s attention.

Luckily, now I have the Worldbuilders team.

Worldbuilders_Team

 (Not pictured: the monkey who took the shot, Brett)

Not only are they handling more and more of the heavy lifting of the fundraiser themselves, but they’re delightfully well-organized.

So this year, we’re getting back to our roots and moving the fundraiser a little earlier.

2. The fundraiser is going to be faster.

Last year’s Worldbuilders was a huge success. We raised more than 700,000 dollars for Heifer International.

However, the fundraiser itself went from December 3 to February 4. It was nine weeks long.

Not only was it like running a marathon, but it overlapped the holidays. That made it hard to keep the momentum of the fundraiser going while at the same time making me feel like an absolute scrooge of a boss.

It occurred to me that the length of the fundraiser was mostly a holdover from when I was organizing things myself. Which is to say I was mostly *not* organizing them. These days the Worldbuilders team is a well-oiled machine. They have meetings and timetables. They use a calendar and everything. Seeing them using these revolutionary tools, I realized we really didn’t have a *reason* for the fundraiser to run as long as it has been….

So earlier this year, we tried an experiment. We ran an Indigogo campaign for one week to see if we could make a short fundraiser work.

And it did. We blew the doors off and raised more than $200,000.

So this year we’re going to keep it short and sweet. Or at least shorter and sweet. It’s going to be like an avalanche of awesome. We’ll be posting up new stuff pretty much every day.2013 Book Wall 02

So stay tuned, lest you miss something.

  • Donations.

SubPress - No Flash (1)

Why yes. We’d love some donations. Thanks so much for asking.

We’ve had books, games, and cool ephemera coming in for a couple months now. But this is your fair warning: since we’re doing a more compact fundraiser this year, we need things to arrive by the middle of November if we’re going to make good use of them.

If you have something you want to kick in, like geeky memorabilia, or signed books, or you should email us at donations [at] worldbuilders.org.

If you’re a member of the geek glitterati who wants make a donation or help us spread the word by doing an act of whimsy, email us at donations [at] worldbuilders.org.

If you have an idea for an author or other cool person you think would be a good addition to our fundraiser but you’ve never seen featured here, maybe drop them a line and ask them to email us at (you guessed it) donations [at] worldbuilders.org.

  • Volunteer and Other Offers of Help

I’m well aware that some of you would love to help with the fundraiser, but cash is hard to come by. No worries. I understand completely. I’ve spent most of my life in that position.

What can you do to help other than chip in money when the time comes? Well….

  • If you live in central Wisconsin, you could stop by Worldbuilders HQ and help us work our magic. We have a lot of work and never as many hands as we’d like, so we’re always looking for volunteers to help out around the store. Email us at volunteers [at] worldbuilders.org
  • If for some bizarre reason you don’t live in Wisconsin, you could start planning an act of whimsy of your own for when the fundraiser starts. We’re encouraging everyone to play this year.
  • Run a blog? Write for a paper? Are you huge on Facebook, Twitter, Ello? We love it when people help us spread the word. So start warming up your click fingers.
  • If you’d like to do an interview or set up some type of more formal press or event with the Worldbuilders team. Drop us a line at Questions [at] worldbuilders.org.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more tour announcements and other sundry things.

Brace yourselves, folks, together we’re going to change the world.

pat

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat35 Responses

PAX 2014

So what did I do at PAX this year?

Many things, but most notably this:

DD-Acquisitions-Inc.-V

And by that, I mean this.

Wait for it….

pat

P.S. Even if you don’t care about D&D, you should really watch the intro. That’s worth the price of admission all by itself….

Also posted in gaming, geeking out | By Pat23 Responses
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