Category Archives: Warm Fuzzies

Deadlines, Prizes, Auctions, D&D, and… um… Poop

As I write this, the Worldbuilders fundraiser has raised over $665,000 dollars for Heifer international.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty great….

A lot of times when I talk about what Heifer International I focus on things like… well… heifers. Or goats. Or Chickens.

Part of the reason is that it’s easy for people to understand how giving a family a flock of chickens what you’re *really* giving them is a long-term supply of fresh food, and an income stream, and the ability to produce more chickens.

But Heifer international does more than just give animals to people, they also provide near-miraculous technologies that people in the developing world can use to make their lives better every day.

For example, Heifer International can help a family turn shit into money, time, food, and improved health for a family.

Here’s how:

A donation of $50 is enough to set a family up with a biogas digester. And if you donate before the end of the fundraiser, you have a chance to win amazing stuff.


Even more than that, if you donate on a specific team page, you have the chance of being included in *additional* prize draws that are unique to each page.

For example, if you donate on the D&D team page, you can win things that will give you a little help when you most need it at during your own tabletop games. Things like this:

Or these:

We’re giving away hundreds of these cards. Even full sets of them. That team just passed their $50K stretch goal, so we’re about to add even more cards to the prize draw AND show off the newly finished cards for those good good boys on the Adventure Zone….

Every $10 bucks you kick in over on that team page gets you a chance to win those cards as well as all the other prizes in the main lottery, too.

*      *      *

Lastly, I’m going to mention a few things on the blog you need to know about sooner rather than later. Strap in, because there’s kind of a lot….

There are over 80 auctions running: games and books and art and jewelry. Rare and Unique items. Strange and Wonderful things that you’ll never see anything else. If you haven’t headed over to look at them, now’s the time.

If you’re looking to do any Christmas shopping for that hard-to-buy-for geek in your life, you should really head over to the store and have a lookie-loo. We’ve to a bunch of new merchandise from all manner of folks over there. Including the fabulous owlbear backpack.

Amazing items such as this await your eager eyes over in the store. But if you want it shipped to you in time for the holidays, you better order soon…

  • Third, be aware that I’m streaming every day until the end of the fundraiser.

What’s more, every one of those streams will have something special going on. Games. Prizes for donors. Today (Thursday) I’ll be playing D&D for charity. Other days I’ll be having discussions like this:

(You can share this graphic around to spread the word, if you’re interested.)

*     *     *

Everything said, the fundraiser is going pretty amazingly. As I mentioned a while back, I was really nervous about a lot of the format changes we were making this year. But at this point, I feel like I can start to relax a little.

Most of all, I’m still hoping that if we push hard over the next 5 days, we can sail over the top of a million dollars.

I’d really like that.

I’ll see y’all soon.


Also posted in panels, The Art of Letting Go, Worldbuilders, Worldbuilders 2018 | By Pat9 Responses

Science, Books and Geeks doing Good

Hey there everyone,

If you hadn’t noticed, the Worldbuilders fundraiser is in full swing. In fact, as I’m writing this, our current donation total is over $625,000…

That’s a lot of goats. A lot of chickens. A lot of fruit trees and honey bees. It’s a lot of happy children with full bellies. It’s a lot of parents who get to sleep easier, knowing that they will be able to feed their children in the future.

Together we’re doing something amazing here. And if you’ve already donated, I can’t thank you enough. Every year the generosity of the geek community absolutely knocks me over.

You might also have noticed that I’m not blogging about the fundraiser nearly as much this year. Part of the reason for that is because this year we’ve launched the fundraiser with all the prizes immediately visible in the lottery where you can go and marvel at their glory. 

The other reason I haven’t been blogging, is that I’m to spread the word to *new* people about Worldbuilders. And I’m guessing if you read my blog, you already know most of what I have to say (because I say it on here every year.) So instead, I’ve been focusing on doing interviews and podcasts. Getting the word out to new audiences about the fact that we’re giving away thousands of prizes worth more than $170,000, to people who donate.

That said, I thought I’d make a point of reminding you of a few key things:

  • All auctions are ending Thursday.

There are dozens of auctions, featuring rare and often truly unique items. They’re a great place to do some holiday shopping for that hard-to-please geek in your life. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you really should.

  • We have a lot of cool team pages this year.

A lot of them offer prizes that are unique to each individual page (while still entering you in the main lottery.)

There’s a full list of the pages over here.

  • I’m livestreaming every day until the end of the fundraiser.

There’s a full schedule of streams over here. We’re doing some specialty streams too, like a geek parenting talk with Felicia Day and Clint McElroy. A game stream with my little boys. And an after-dark panel where we talk about the similarites between D&D and BDSM.

(If you follow my twitch channel, you’ll be notified when I go rogue and do unscheduled streams, too.)

  • I did science to books.

Witness the terrible majesty of our $80,000 stretch goal that we recently hit on my Twitch Stream page.

Be warned: Once you watch it, you can’t un-watch it.

If you’re looking for an easy way to spread the word about the fundraiser while traumatizing your friends, sharing that video is about as easy as it gets….

*     *     *

We only have 5 days left in the fundraiser. So if you’re interested in saving the world while winning fabulous prizes, now’s the time to head over and jump in.

If you’ve donated already, I’d love to hear about how it made you feel in the comments. I’ll be honest, stories from donors are what keep me going this time of year. If you’d be willing to share your experiences, I’d really appreciate it.

More news every day from now until the end. Stay tuned.


Also posted in babies, calling on the legions, Worldbuilders, Worldbuilders 2018 | By Pat36 Responses

Making Change With My Boy

For those of you who don’t know, I have a little boy. I won’t tell you his name, because his name is his own business. And he’ll share it with the world when he’s ready.

Online, I refer to him as Oot.


He is my heart’s delight. He is my sweet boy.

This is a story about him. Because that’s what I do. I tell stories.

*     *     *

A while back, I wrote a blog about my change jar.

Unspeakable Wealth

(Yeah. My kitchen is pretty orange.)

In that long-ago blog, I talked about how strange it is for me to have quarters in my change jar. For the majority of my life, the quarters have been picked out to make ends meet when times get tight. There’s been a lot of time when my change jar didn’t have many dimes in it either….

In brief, my change jar is a constant reminder to me that I am rich.

One of the things I like about Heifer is that they can do a lot with a little. Even when my change jar was mostly nickles and pennies, even if all I could scrounge up was twenty bucks at the end of the year, I knew Heifer could use that money to change someone’s life.

These last couple years, I’ve developed a habit of taking my change jar to the bank, cashing it out, and donating that money to Heifer at the end of the Worldbuilders fundraiser. I make other donations too, of course. But this one is special to me.

The change jar is really cool to Oot. Part of this is because we kept all coins away from him for a long while after he swallowed that dime. But the bigger part of it is that he has my genes, and that means he thinks coins are cool. Because they are.


(Luckily, he did not inherit my fashion sense.)

So last year when I was getting ready to take my coins to the bank, Oot asked if he could help. He didn’t really know what I was doing, he mostly just wanted to play with the coins and spend time with me. I’d been busy with the fundraiser, and he hadn’t seen much of me.

First he moved all his coins into his lunchbox. Then he found a new jar he liked better and started moving all the coins into that instead.

While I was waiting, I asked him what we should do with the change from the jar.

Honestly, I was expecting this to be a teachable moment. I was going to explain why we should help other people. Why that was important.

But he didn’t need that explained. He was on board from the beginning. They don’t have chocolate? We should give them some. Not enough food? We should give people seeds. We should give people water. We should give people a cow so they can have milk to drink.

I swear I didn’t coach him at all. This video is edited for time, but if you like, you can watch the full video over here. It shows more of his thought process, as well as me breaking down crying at the end. (Oot didn’t understand why, and sweet boy that he is, he offered to go get me a tissue.)

I could claim I got all weepy because I was low on sleep and a little emotionally fragile at the end of last year’s fundraiser. But while it does tend to be an exhausting time of year for me, that wouldn’t really be the truth. The truth is that he’s so good that it just breaks my heart.

The world seems so bleak sometimes. But he gives me hope. Y’all give me hope too. Every year Worldbuilders reminds me that there a lot of people in the world who want to make things better. You have no idea how much that means to me.

Thanks so much, everyone.

Here’s a link to our donation page if you’d like to chip in.

*     *     *

A few pieces of news today. Note our shiny new widget.

Because I have been known to suck at math, the fabulous Vi Hart lent us her considerable calculatory skills to determine how likely you are to win a prize in the Worldbuilders lottery based on how much you donate.

The odds are *really* good this year. We made our tech guys double check that they were pulling numbers from the right place. It’s absurd how good the odds are, and we’re not even done adding prizes yet.

In other news, the Worldbuilders Team is livestreaming the entire day in the office. I’ll probably be strolling through there as well like a great shambling mythical beast.

We’ve got an AMA tonight as well, along with some of the faboo authors that are helping us out. So feel free to swing by there with your questions. We’ll have answers. Or at least a sleep-deprived level of snark….

One last time, here’s the link to donate.

And here’s the link to the blog that explains all the details of the fundraiser.

Later Space Cowboys,


Also posted in Oot, Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat43 Responses


Well folks, we’re about eleven hours away from the end of this year’s Worldbuilders fundraiser, and I couldn’t be happier. As I type this, geeks of all creeds and nations have banded together to raise $651,000 dollars for Heifer International.

Simply said, that’s a lot of goats.


I’m not going to make any sort of pitch today. I’m not looking to nudge anyone in the direction of donating. You’ve already done so much, asking for more at this point would feel weird to me.

Instead I’d like to share some letters people have sent us over the last year. Stories about Worldbuilders.

Like Brian’s creative fundraising idea…

Hello Pat and Team,

I wanted to share a quick story about the donation I just made on behalf of Worldbuilders to Heifer International.  I was thinking this year I would take a little more of the Pat approach to my donation.

I am a part owner of 8 Record stores in Arizona and Nevada. (Well, we actually sell all kinds of stuff including two of our stores now have full book sections!) I decided for the month of December we would give customers the option of choosing to take a bag for their purchases or donate the cost of that bag to charity. I also added that for every person that chooses Worldbuilders I would personally match the donation this year.

Now, our bags cost us about a nickel so this year over 11 thousand people in one month choose to donate to Heifer International. That’s 11 thousand people that hopefully learned about the charity for the first time and their collective effort equaled over $550, a full heifer plus some!

I was thrilled to personally match their efforts from my own pocket. So that”s over $1100 bucks from us music and book geeks out here in Arizona and Nevada…a lot of it was one nickel at a time. Keep up the good work! My mind is already thinking of ways to do more next year!

Brian (Zia Record Exchange)

Thanks so much, Brian. This is a brilliant idea. Not only does it show how a lot of little donations can really add up, but each of those 11,000 people heard about Heifer International, even if it’s just briefly. Talk about spreading the word….

And I see you have a store in Tuscon. I’m hoping to swing through there later this year. I don’t know how big your store is, but I’d be happy to do a signing there if you’d like….

*     *     *

Amie won the tuckerization that Adam Casalino put up for auction last year. After she won, she sent us the following e-mail:

Hi Maria:

Thank you for your quick response and I look forward to working with yourself and Adam!  I have four children and my 14 year old thinks this is the uncoolest thing I have done to date–which means it has already paid for itself!  :)


(I feel obliged to mention that in our handful of remaining auctions, Adam Casalino, has put up another tuckerization.)

Amie also came with us to the Heifer Ranch last April, too. So it’s pretty certain we’ve continued to embarrass her 14 year old as thoroughly as possible. Which, from what I understand, is the best thing to do with 14 year olds. Other than get them started playing D&D….

Pat and Amie

The story has a happy ending, too. These days, Amie stops by Worldbuilders headquarter once a week and helps us out with packaging orders in The Tinker’s Packs.

*       *       *

Here’s a poem from Sky Corbelli. Some of you you might remember the Song Review of Name of the Wind, he did about a year ago.

Hey Pat, seems Worldbuilders is just ’round the bend.
Last year was so great, didn’t want it to end!

Then I thought to myself, why end it at all?
I may be an indie with sales quite small
But I’ve flagged each dollar my books have brought in
And set them aside for a Worldbuilding win.

Now straight out the gate, I am happy to say,
I’ve over a thousand that’s coming your way
Plus, all further profits I’ll kick in with pride
And see what I can’t russel up on the side.

So keep being awesome; we’re cheering for you!
And I’m sure that the world cheers right along too.


Sky Luke Corbelli
Mathematician, Zookeeper, Placer of Poems with Purpose

*      *      *

Some folks told us how they’re forgoing gifts in favor of donations:

Hi Pat,

My birthday is coming up next week and instead of gifts or birthday wishes, I’ve asked all of my friends to donate to Heifer International, and set up a page for it. I’ve got enough stuff; what do I need with more stuff lying around, just being stuff? Other people could use what the money can buy far more than I could.

Thank you for advertising for such a great cause. I doubt I would’ve happened across it without you. I feel fantastic about doing this, and I hope that everyone who donates on my behalf does as well. It’s a far more worthwhile cause than I am, that’s for sure!

Cheers, and thanks again,

Thanks for being awesome, Craig.

Along similar lines, Javan and Emily forewent giving wedding favors, and even used Worldbuilders as their wedding theme. At their reception, there was the following note as the centerpiece on their tables:

We wanted to give you a little present to thank you for sharing this day with us, so please help yourself to the sweets that are on your table
(If you can’t find them, look in the teacup).

We also bought you a water buffalo.

We know, we know – you don’t have room for a water buffalo, you haven’t got the time to take it for walks and you don’t have a swamp for it to wallow in.

Don’t panic. We bought your water buffalo through Worldbuilders, a yearly event founded by one of our favourite authors, Patrick Rothfuss, in order to use the collective power of readers, fellow authors and book lovers to raise money for Heifer International. That means your water buffalo is going to help fight poverty and hunger by providing a family with milk and helping them plough their fields.

We hope you won’t mind that you can’t take your wedding favour home with you.

Emily and Javan
25th May 2013

P.S. Their wedding photos were pretty great.

Paul Wilkinson Photography Ltd.

I could share stories all day, but the blog would be so long nobody would read it.

Just one more:

Hi Mr. Rothfuss,

My name is Colleen and I am 15 years old. I am writing to tell you about my day.

Today I woke up, got out of bed, ate breakfast…just kidding. I am writing to tell you about the most important part of my day. Today I gave $30 to Heifer International with Worldbuilders. I am very, very, very, sorry that I couldn’t give more-I wanted to give hundreds. But as I said, I am 15, with no job, no car, no income. My family does not have much extra money so I have saved up for months to get this much. I apologize that I can’t give more, but I hope that this small amount can make a small difference.

I want you to know how much I admire your work with Worldbuilders and Heifer International and I hope that when I grow older, I can give back to the world as much as you have. With your magical words (your books are my absolute favorite and you are my favorite author ever) and wonderful work with this charity, you give so much back to the global community. You are my hero and I admire you so much. I hope you always keep doing what you”re doing, and never stop!

Best wishes, your biggest fan,

And now I’m a little weepy.

We get a fair number of letters from people telling their stories. And I love reading them. But one of the unfortunate things that I’ve seen crop up several times is people expressing regret that they weren’t able to donate more.

So let me say to you, Colleen, that thirty dollars will change someone’s life.

But more than that, Colleen, the fact that you were willing to donate thirty dollars means the world to me. It fills me with joy and makes me hopeful for the future.

Here’s the truth. If Bill Gates walked into this room right now and gave us a million dollars, it would not make me as happy as your donation. I would want to shake his hand. But you I want to hug.

While I’m glad we’ve raised $650,000 for Heifer this year, what makes me really proud is how we did it. Many of our donors have never given money to charity before. Many are students without much money. Many of them have money troubles of their own.

You see, I want to make the world a better place. And while your donation is a piece of that, a much bigger part of it is you. The fact that you genuinely care and have gone out of your way to help…. *that* makes me like the world more. Above and beyond what you do, the fact that you *exist* makes the world a better place. Not just for me. For everybody.

So thank you, Colleen. Thank you Emily and Javan and Brian and Sky and Amie.  Thank you corporate sponsors. Thank you authors and publishers, actors and vloggers, musicians and game designers. Thank you donors.

Thank you geeks of all creeds and nations.

Thank you.


P.S. If you’d like to share your story, you can do it the comments below. Or you can email it to us at [email protected] We love hearing the stories, and might use them in future blogs or newsposts.

P.P.S. Just in case you need it: one final link to the Worldbuilders Team Page.

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat48 Responses

2014 Calendars – Fantasy and Philantropy

So for the last couple of years, Worldbuidlers has put out a calendar to help raise money for charity.

This year, we decided to up our game and put out TWO calendars:

The first one we put together with help from Heifer International itself to showcase the good work they do all over the world:


The second is filled with joyful geekery, featuring a bunch of cool fantasy authors… and me.

LZ Cover

Right now, both of these calendars are up for sale in our online store, The Tinker’s Packs.

If you want, you could hop over right now and buy them. But if you’d like more details first….

  • The Heifer Calendar:

One of the things that’s always bothered me about charity fundraisers is that they frequently center around guilt and pity.

We’ve all seen the TV commercials. They show you starving, desperate children and say, “For the price of a cup of coffee, you can feed this child. Not even fancy coffee. We’re talking shitty truck-stop coffee with powdered creamer in it. Not that you would ever drink that. Today you had a half-decaf mocha with blueberry syrup and extra whip that cost you six bucks, you fat, disgusting American bastard.”

I’m paraphrasing, of course. But you know what I’m talking about. You see one of those commercials and if you have any empathy at all… well… it’s just crushing. Whenever I saw one, it always made me feel helpless and hopeless.

The first time I ever saw something different was Sarah Mclachlan’s video, World On Fire. Way back in 2004.

The premise for the video was this: They took the $150,000 a video normally costs, and put that money toward different charitable causes instead.

After all these years, I still remember one moment in the video where they said they’d helped send kids to school. Then they showed a picture of this little girl sitting in a classroom. And she was *so* fucking happy to be going to school and learning things. She was beaming with joy.

A screw it, I’ll just post the video here so you can see it yourself if you want….

The part I’m talking about is right at the 1 minute mark.

I remember watching that video, and thinking “This. Is. Awesome. What Sarah McLachlin has done here is Awesome.”

Then, after a moment, I remember thinking, “I want to be awesome too.”

What’s my point? Here’s my point.

When we decided to put together our own Heifer International themed calendar, that’s the feeling I wanted to replicate. I didn’t want people to feel guilty or sad or depressed at the state of the world.

I wanted you to look at this calendar and think: This is Awesome. What Heifer is doing is Awesome.

So our calendar is full of stories of people that Heifer has helped over the years. People who got a little help, then used those resources to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

Stuff like this:

After working on their own for 21 years, the women in Azacualpa village saw things begin to change in 2005 when 22 families received heifers from Heifer International.

Four years later, in 2009, they received chickens and completed two rounds of Passing on the Gift, sharing chickens with other families in their community. Seeing the positive results from these first two projects, the women wanted to try something a bit more ambitious.


“We wanted something more to do to generate more income,” said Maria Elsa (bottom left, with her husband and grandchildren). From this, the Southern Cashew Enterprise Association was born, with Maria serving as president.

Heifer provided the materials and hired builders to construct the storage rooms and ovens for this cashew enterprise. They also provided 200 cashew tree seedlings.

In 2012, a drought destroyed most of the area’s corn harvest. The cashew business, however, along with the ability to sell eggs and milk from their livestock, still provided income for the families in Maria’s village.

Maria gets almost four gallons of milk a day; she uses one gallon for her family and sells the rest.

Victoriano Gonzalez, Maria’s husband, said, “I never expected to see a cow in my yard and now we have four.” While the women work, their husbands have taken over more of the household chores.

“Now our husbands bring us food while we are working,” Maria said.

 This! This is what it’s all about. Heifer helps people, then those people help themselves. Then they help *other* people help themselves.

And you *don’t* have to shell out 60 cents a day, every day, forever, just to keep some poor kid from starving. When I did that, I felt like I was throwing stones into a well. I felt like it would never *really* make things better.

But here’s the thing: you send some money to Heifer, and they use it to help people make significant, long-term changes in their lives. Now when I donate money, it feels like I’m throwing a stone and Heifer is making sure that stone lands in *just* the right place so that it triggers an avalanche of awesome that will go on for decades, improving the lives of thousands of people.

If you buy this calendar, you are throwing a stone too. I hope that every day you look at it and think: That is awesome. And I am awesome too because I helped.

  • The Beyond Words Fantasy Calendar:

The second calendar we’re doing this year is fantasy-themed. But unlike last year’s calendar that focused on fantasy characters. This calendar focuses on the authors themselves.

For example, Brandon Sanderson:


Or Lauren Oliver:

oliver-updated(It’s worth it to embiggen this.)

Or Gregory Maquire:


As you can see, the point wasn’t to dress up the authors as something out of their own books. (Gregory isn’t dressed up as someone from Wicked, for example.) This was a chance to… well… to do something fun and cool.

There are a lot of cool authors involved in this project, including:

If you’d like to see more of the pictures, you can peek at some more over in The Tinker’s Packs.

  • A special offer:

Now I can hear many of you out there howling, “How can I possibly choose between these two awesome calendars? I love Heifer, but I’m also a big geeky fan of [insert author name here]!!”

First off, rest assured that if you buy *either* of these calendars, money will go toward supporting Heifer International.

But really, why buy only one calendar? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a calendar in your office AND in your kitchen? A calendar at home *and* a calendar at work?

And what about Christmas presents? Think of those older relatives that are hard to shop for. Do you really want to give them another kitten calendar? A scented candle? No. You really don’t.

But if you give them a Heifer Calendar, you can explain to them how the money went to a *really* good cause. Then they get to feel awesome, too.

Calendar-2-forSo here’s the deal we’re offering. If you buy more than one calendar, we’ll give you a break on the price.

  • If you buy two calendars, you get $5 off.
  • If you buy three calendars, you get $10 off.

You can mix and match to your heart’s content. Here’s the link the the calendar combo deals on The Tinker’s Packs.

  • The fine details:

A few other things you might want to know:

1. If you buy the Beyond Words calendar, your money will support First Book as well as Worldbuilders.

2. The Beyond Words calendar isn’t *quite* back from the printer yet.

It should be finished in a week or so. And we’ll be shipping it soon after. That’s why it’s listed in the store as a pre-order.

So if you order a calendar bundle including Beyond Worlds, we’ll wait until *all* your calendars are ready before we mail them. It will take a little longer, but shipping is much cheaper that way.

3. Last year, a lot of people complained that while the calendar was attractive, it was hard to use.

The reason for this was that the re was little functional space for writing down doctor’s appointments, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.

We’ve fixed that this year. Both our calendars have nice, big colored boxes for you to write in.

  • Being in the Loop:

As you all know, I end up being really busy. That means I don’t always get to write blogs as quickly as I’d like.

This blog is a great example of that. I’ve been working on it for days.

But the people who follow The Tinker’s Packs on Facebook and Twitter heard about the calendars almost a week ago. That means they’ve already had a chance to place their orders, and in some cases have already received their calendars, giving them the chance to be very smug among their geek friends.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss stuff like this, it would be a good idea to follow those accounts. Especially as I don’t always blog about everything we put up in the store, and a lot of time, items are limited….

More cool things happening soon. Really soon. Stay tuned.


P.S. If you’d like to sell some of our calendars in your store, or just buy in bulk, drop us a line at [email protected]

P.P.S. If you’d like to help out Worldbuilders in some other way, drop us a line at [email protected]

Also posted in being awesome, Heifer International, The Tinker's Packs, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat24 Responses

Warm Fuzzies

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


*      *      *

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

Heya Pat,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Yo Pat,

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

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

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

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

I’ll stop there.

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



Also posted in fanmail, videos, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat28 Responses

The Curious Case of Anton Strout

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know about my ongoing antagonistic relationship with Anton Strout.

He is the Moriarty to my Holmes. Though that might be overstating things a bit. Maybe he’s more like the Magneto to my….

No. I don’t want him being Magneto, either. He can be…. Emma Frost. He’s the Emma Frost to my Jean-Luc Picard.

Wait. Nevermind any of that. This analogy just isn’t working out.

Suffice to say that Anton and I have had a long-standing rivalry that I keep interesting by occasionally trying to have him killed.

Now, years into our comfortable relationship, Anton has thrown me a serious curveball.

You see, despite our ongoing relationship, Anton has always been cool about helping out with Worldbuilders, the charity I run every year to raise money for  Heifer International. Over the years, Anton has helped spread the word about Worldbuilders, donated signed books to the cause, and even auctioned off a read-and-critique in support of the charity.

But now he’s taken things to a whole new level.

You see, Anton has a new book coming out in about a month’s time. It’s called Alchemystic:

Now when someone has a new book coming out, there’s a bunch of stuff they can do to promote it. They can get bookmarks printed to give away at conventions. They can buy ad space in a magazine. They can do prizes or giveaways on their blog.

But a couple months ago, Anton approached me with a different sort of an idea.

The conversation went something like this:

Anton: So I’ve got a book coming out at the end of September….

Me: Curse you, Strout. Curse you and your vile ability to meet your deadlines….

Anton: It’s a new series. The Spellmason Chronicles.

Me: Yes. My spies have reported it to me. One of the main characters is a gargoyle, isn’t it?

Anton: I was thinking that for every copy of the book that gets pre-ordered. I’d donate a dollar to Worldbuilders.

Me: …

Anton: I talked to the PR people at Penguin, and they’ve said that for the first 1500 books, they’ll kick in a dollar, too.


Anton: So… for the first 1500 books, we’ll donate 2 bucks for every pre-order.

Me: …

Anton: Are you still there?

Me: Are you serious?

Anton: Yeah. I was thinking about a bunch of different things I could do to promote the book, but this seemed like a better way to spend the money. This way, I get the word out about Alchemystic, but the money can do some good in people’s lives, too.

Me: Seriously?

Anton: And it will act as kind of a nice prologue to this year’s fundraiser too, remind people that Worldbuilders is coming up in a couple of months.


It’s not often that I’m caught without something to say. But it does happen.

*     *     *

In all seriousness, folks. This is an unprecedentedly generous thing that Anton is offering to do. It says a lot about Penguin too, that they’re willing to back his play like this and offer matching money.

Not only does Worldbuilders stand to make some money here, but if this goes well, I hope other authors might consider doing something similar to promote their books in the future.

In my opinion, it would be really great if Anton sold a bunch of books. Like, a crazy amount of books. So many books that other publishers were startled by the number. So many books that folks took notice of this as a viable advertizing solution.

In my opinion, a donation to Worldbuilders beats the hell out of spending money on refrigerator magnets or ad space. And honestly, I’m ashamed that Anton figured that out before I did.

Curse you, Strout.

So. Today I called the local bookstore and ordered my copy of Alchemistic. That’s one copy.

Care to join me?


[Edit – In response to a question asked in the comments below: Yes. The offer is also good for Kindle and Nook versions of the book.]
Also posted in calling on the legions, cool things, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat96 Responses
  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)