Category Archives: Worldbuilders 2012

Worldbuilders 2012: Epilogue – Part Two

If you’d like to read part one of the Worldbuilders wrap-up, you can find it over here.

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Today we’ve got a video for y’all. A thank-you video from some of the people involved in Worldbuilders this year.

I’m really awful at recording little videos of myself on a webcam.

Put me in front of classroom of students, I’m fine. Ask me to sing on a video interview? Fine. Reading a sex scene in front of a crowd? Blushy, but fine…

But put me in front of a webcam and ask me to record an earnest little 20 second message? I’m useless. It probably took me 30 tries to do that intro. And even after all that, my intro somehow has *less* grace and elan than someone selling steak knives on QVC.

So let me say it in my ordinary, texty way.

Seriously, thank you.

This year we raised more than 600,000 dollars for Heifer International. (Including the 100,000 stretch goal and merchandise sold in The Tinker’s Packs.) We left last year’s $400,000+ total in the dust.

What’s even cooler is this: a couple days ago when I was doing a reading at Heifer International down in Little Rock, the person introducing me dropped a surprising number into the converstion. They said that over the last 5 years, Worldbuilders has raised 1.95 million dollars for Heifer. I was a little stunned by that. I hadn’t done the math….

So. My earnest thanks. You guys are awesome. You renew my faith in humanity.

Now, back to the video, I feel I should mention that the folks we included are only a tiny fraction of the people involved. Why? Because a three-hour thank-you video is just too long, so we had to leave a lot of folks out.

Like, just for example, my friend Joyce.

Joyce has been my friend for years. I’ve known her since my first year in Stevens Point back in 1991. She’s been involved in Worldbuilders since it started.

And yet, because she wasn’t around in the couple days we were putting the video put together, we… um… just kinda forgot to put her in it.

So if your favorite author who participated isn’t in there, or if you donated and wondered why we didn’t ask you for a clip, don’t feel sad. It’s not because we don’t love you. We do. It’s because we’re hard at work getting ready for next year, and it’s just impossible to fit everyone in.

In closing, two quick things.

1. I’m still trying to contact the winners of this year’s big prizes, and I’m having trouble with a few of them.

So if for some reason you haven’t been reading your e-mail, do me a favor and take a look in there, would you? Otherwise we’ll have to give the prize to someone else, then when you find that message in your spam filter six weeks from now, you’ll cry….

2. Apparently I’m not the only person who has to take a couple runs at getting their video right. We’ve got the outtakes from the thank-you video over here.

Personally, I like it better.

With love,


Posted in Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat24 Responses

Worldbuilders 2012: Epilogue – Part One

Generally speaking, my readers are a patient bunch.

For the most part, this is because you are gracious individuals. Intellectuals. The Geek Glitterati.

Those rare few of you who aren’t patient by nature, have been forced to learn this virtue waiting for my books. This is a service I provide free of charge.

Because you’re all gracious, patient human beings, it’s only in these last few weeks that a few folks have sent a few polite e-mails asking if we’ve sent out the prizes for worldbuilders yet.

And now, I’m happy to say that we have.

All the Prizes 2012 2

(You might want to Embiggen this.)

From left to right, we have Maria, Joyce, and Nicole (sporting the new Greysdale Mead t-shirt).

Then there’s Me, Amanda and Kat. I’m easy to spot, as I’m the only boy.

Unseen but not unloved is Nate, who took the picture. And Brett, who happens to be roaming the earth right now, trying to collect all the pieces of the triforce. Or something. I honestly don’t know what he’s doing, but I suspect it’s something like a vacation.

And honestly? He deserves a vacation. Everyone here does. Without these lovely people, Worldbuilders wouldn’t have happened. I would have had a nervous breakdown and lit everything on fire sometime around December 18th.

Of course it goes without saying that without all of *you* Worldbuilders wouldn’t have happened either. So you all deserve vacations as well. Take one. And if anyone gives you grief about it, tell them I said it was okay.

I feel like I should point out that what you see in the picture above aren’t even all the packages. That’s just the final batch we sent out Tuesday.

I would have liked to get these prizes in the mail sooner. But…. well…. things got a little complicated this year.

You see, up until this year, Worldbuilders has been something I banged together on my own with a couple people helping out.

The first year Sarah helped me. The second year (2009), I had an assistant to lend a hand.

In 2010 & 2011, I had an assistant and a half, and some other friends helped with packaging, e-mail, some of the bookkeeping….

But I was still trying to run it all myself.

I hope it doesn’t disillusion y’all to learn that I am not a great organizer. Worldbuilders worked, but things were pretty chaotic behind the scenes. This didn’t particularly bother me, as I tend to gravitate toward Chaotic Good anyway…

But every year Worldbuilders got bigger. And every year there was more to do. And every year I was a little more overwhelmed.

So this year I brought in people to run the charity. Smart, lovely people. People who could organize things. People who liked to make spreadsheets. People to answer the e-mail and run the store. People to package and talk to donors and take pictures and help me put together the blogs.

And I learned two things:

1. It’s awesome having enough help.

2. It takes a lot of time do things the right way.

We’ve got an inventory system now where we scan in books with a bar code reader. (Before we entered them into a spreadsheet manually.)

Now we can print out winner’s addresses on sticky labels. (Before we printed them out in Word, cut them out, and taped them onto the package.)

These thing are so nice, but it took us a while to get them all in place and running smoothly.

What’s more, we now have our own *building* now. For the last several years we’ve been running this whole thing out of an old student rental I bought on the cheap. Now we have space to spread out and grow. But it’s taken us a while to move in.

Plus, we had a lot more prizes to give out this year. A lot more books and a lot more winners.

Now, answers to a few questions.

  • How will I know if I’ve won?

A package will show up at your house in the next couple weeks. A springtime surprise.

Please keep in mind that while there were a lot of winners, there were also a lot of donors.

If you won one of the specialty prizes, like the favor ring, or my tuckerization, or the ARC of Stardust, I’ll be getting in touch with you over the next couple days. So if and unfamiliar number shows up on your cell phone, you might want to answer it.

  • Will you be posting up a list of winners?

Sorry. We won’t. It would be a violation of the winner’s privacy.

If the winners are okay with it, we’ll share what’s happens with some of the bigger prizes. Like the favor ring and the ARC of Stardust. But that will be their choice, I’m afraid.

If you’d like to take a picture of yourself with your prizes, you could post them up in the Worldbuilders Facebook Group so that everyone can gaze on you with envious desire.

  • What were this year’s final totals? How much did we raise?


For that information and much more, stay tuned. We’ve got a lot of cool news coming up….


Also posted in cool news | By Pat69 Responses

Even Yet More Author Donated Books

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

Well folks, this is it. The final blog full of books. The final day of the fundraiser.

On January 21st at midnight, Worldbuilders will be over for another year.

We’ve had a really good week. Just to give y’all some perspective, Worldbuilders has raised more money in the last four days than we did in our our entire first year.

As I write this, our total is a little more than $392,000. So it looks like $400K is well within our grasp. When we hit that, I’m personally donating an extra $100,000 to Heifer International.

Our $450K goal is looking a little distant, though. Which is a shame, as I was really hoping to have an excuse to write a piece of erotica with Amber Benson.

Still, I’ve been surprised before in the final day of the fundraiser….

Remember that if you donate before midnight CST on Jan 21st, you’ve got really amazingly good odds of winning some cool books, including the new ones we’re listing below….

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Some of the coolest books Worldbuilders received this year came from the authors themselves. Today’s batch includes special editions, numbered editions, and a few copies of books that won’t even be hitting the shelves for a couple months.

Remember to thank these authors if you get the chance.  They’re cool people, and they’re helping out Worldbuilders from the goodness of their hearts.

This is a publisher’s copy of the limited edition from Subterranean Press. There were less than 600 of these made, and they’ve  been sold out for some time, but Paolo sent us one of his personal copies for the fundraiser.

“Not since William Gibson’s pioneering cyberpunk classic, Neuromancer (1984), has a first novel excited science fiction readers as much as Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl…” – Washington Post

  • A set of The Dreamblood Series.  Signed by N.K. Jemisin.

“The world is so fully fleshed out that I could breathe its spices, while the story and characters are so much a part of the world that you could not pull this story or these people out and plug them into a different setting. Jemisin proves yet again that she is one of the important new writers in the sff scene.” – Kate Elliott

“Fuller rises to this challenge with great skill in this accomplished, atmospheric and thoughtful novel.” –

This won the National Book Award. And with quotes like this from Peter S. Beagle, you can see why….

Goblin Secrets is a knockout. It’s an original, owing absolutely nothing to Tolkien, or to any of his descendants, disciples or imitators.”  – Peter S. Beagle

“Red Moon is a serious, politically symbolic novel – a literary novel about lycanthropes. If George Orwell had imagined a future where the werewolf population had grown to the degree that they were colonized and drugged, this terrifying novel might be it.”  – John Irving

This one is a big deal, folks.  This is an ARC of a novel that doesn’t come out until May 2013.  He gets bonus points because he taught creative writing here at UWSP.

“Enchanting, fearsome faerie vistas and pinpoint character delineations make Galen’s absorbing quest one to savor and remember.” – Publishers Weekly

  • A set of Devil Said Bang and Aloha From Hell.  Signed by Richard Kadrey.

“Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series is one of my favorite sets of fantasy books from the last few years…” – John Scalzi

“While carefully piecing together the ravaged scraps of his life in a quiet suburb of LA, [Asher Blaine] is arrested for murder […] When he turns to the people he trusted most, he discovers he must convince them not only of his sobriety, but of his innocence.” – Book summary

  • A set of The Fall of Ile-Rien novels.  Signed by Martha Wells.

“Wells…has created a finely detailed world that echoes with not just one culture and people but many. …A story on many levels, part high adventure, part personal story. Tremaine is not a scream and clutch heroine; she is a fascinating character with many facets. Check it out.” – Tulsa World

  • 3 copies of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.  Signed by Jenny Lawson (aka The Blogess).

Amanda’s note: I’ll admit that I didn’t know who Jenny Lawson was a few months ago.  I’d vaguely heard the name “The Blogess” but hadn’t ever wandered over to check out her blog before.  Then Pat had her on Storyboard, and from then on, I was hooked.  She’s hilarious, and socially awkward in all the ways geeks like us can relate to.

We have 3 different copies of this book – two different paperbacks, and a CD audiobook, read by Jenny.  Each one will be put into the lottery as its own prize, and believe me: you won’t be disappointed.  Especially if you enjoy the F-word and stories about taxidermy.

  • A set of The Wild Side, Tales for the Dead of WinterCrimes by Moonlight, and Murder and Mayhem in Muskego.  All signed by Dana Cameron.

Dana sent over a bunch of anthologies she’s been featured in, and signed the title page of each of her stories.  It’s such a cool urban fantasy pack that we figured someone would appreciate having all four.

“This is a very good book, extremely engrossing and entertaining, including a couple of remarkable highlights of superior quality when compared with more celebrated anthologies.” – SF Site, about The Wild Side.

Here is a book that isn’t released until March.   Liesel was kind enough to send over some ARCs, so if you win one, you can read it before your friends do, then taunt them with the fact.

“Urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance: if you want them, you’ve got them in this charged debut.” – Library Journal

Another ARC, and this one doesn’t even come out until April.

“Promise of Blood is a hugely promising debut. Guns, swords, and magic together? What more could you want? How about tense action, memorable characters, rising stakes, and cool, cool magic? Not only the finest flintlock fantasy I’ve read, but also the most fun. Brian McClellan is the real thing.” – Brent Weeks

“Wholly immersive and enchanting…J.G. McKenney has written a gem.”

Amanda’s note: It’s also worth noting that J.G. McKenney offers a free novel study unit for Eon’s Door on his website for middle school teachers, which makes him extra cool in my book.

“All writers believe in the magic of books; Jim Hines has created a system where that magic becomes real, usable, and very definitely not always safe.” – Tanya Huff

Amanda’s note: If that blurb isn’t reason enough to love Jim Hines, you may want to check out what he, Pat, and a bunch of our favorite authors did at ConFusion for Jim’s fundraiser.

Yeah.  You can never un-see that.  You’re welcome.

“[An] enjoyable romp […] satisfying to a wide range of middle school readers.” – Publishers Weekly

“For someone who likes reading historical fiction with an intent to learn a little while being entertained perhaps this review will encourage you to give it a try. The author is articulate, imaginative and I hope to see her write more.” –

  • 3 copies of Strangeness in the Proportion.  Signed by Joshua Alan Doetsch.  With toe tag bookmarks.

“Joshua Alan invites readers to the outer edge of surrealism where horror, mythology, stand-up, and Mother Angelica won’t agree to meet, but metabolize in a fantastical and satisfying gumbo. You don’t have a hair on your rumpus if you’re not hipwaggin’ it to be the first in line for the next ladleful.” – Joanna Beth Tweedy

Oathbreaker, Book 1: The Knight’s Tale … is a riveting debut fantasy from an author who knows what fantasy fans love (he wrote adventures for TSR, after all) – visceral prose; logically sound and creative world-building; and fascinating characters that do not follow genre conventions..” – The New Podler Review

“A new star is rising in the fantasy firmament…teems with magic and spine-chilling amounts of skullduggery.” – Dave Duncan

Some of you have been waiting a long time for this one.  There were only 1000 of these made, so we were excited when Brandon sent it, and we’re tossing it into the lottery where anyone who donates can win it.

“Reality and illusion, sanity and insanity, are but subjective labels in this thought-provoking foray into a world where ‘hallucinations’ abound like the Biblical demons the title evokes… The engaging if madcap events of this outre narrative unobtrusively prompt the reader to reflect on the nature of reality.” – Publishers Weekly

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And that’s it.  Our last blog of the fundraiser.  You’ve seen the books, DVDs, CDs, and comics that will be in the lottery, and you have the chance to win just by donating by January 21st at 11:59pm CST.

If you’d like to donate, head over to the Worldbuilders Team Page.

There are a couple of auctions left, including the Favor from Pat.  Check out our current auctions 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 our main page.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat30 Responses

Books from Prime

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

Pat is still out at ConFusion, so you lucky sods get blogs from me for a couple more days.  Pat is still reading the blog and comments when he can, and he’s still calling me to gush about how awesomely our auctions are going.  Even though he can’t be here these last few days, he’s doing his best to keep up.

Things have been going really well, so let’s get back to the awesome prizes.

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This year we were approached by more people than ever about donations.  Part of this is because we’re growing in the community, and a lot of people have spread the word about us.  The other part is because we brought on Maria, and she brought years of non-profit experience to our fundraiser.  She’s why we have sponsors this year.  She’s why we had so many tuckerizations for auction this year.  She’s directly responsible for tripling the cuteness factor in the office. And she’s the reason we received hundreds of books from Prime Books.

Prime, conveniently enough, has their books printed near our office, so it was incredibly easy for them to ship over boxes of books – so they sent a lot.

There are a ton of anthologies, including a lot of big names – Gaiman, Beagle, LeGuin, Lackey, and L’Engle, to name a sparse few, and many of them are featured in more than one of these books.  There are also stand alone novels and collections, so you really can’t lose.

As soon as these came in, Pat descended upon them to group them into prize packages for y’all.  They actually group rather well.  The idea here is that winning one prize containing three books seriously increases the possibility that you’ll find your new favorite story.

(Click to embiggen and read all the awesome contributing authors)

“[Phantom is a] deliciously creepy book of horrors that prove all the more terrifying for their everyday nature.” – Publisher’s Weekly

As soon as the boxes were open, a bunch of us started coveting these, particularly Brett, who is not only a short story person but a rabid horror fan.  Don’t worry, I’m protecting them from him, just as he protected the Kvothe doll from me.

  • 25 sets of Witches: Wicked, Wild & Wonderful and Season of Wonder both edited by Paula Guran.

These anthologies also have some awesome people who wrote for them.  Gaiman, Lackey, Card, Ellison…

“Fans of stories involving witches as well as those who enjoy well-told fantasy should appreciate the strength of this themed collection.” – Library Journal, about Witches: Wicked, Wild & Wonderful

  • 25 sets of Running with the Pack and Circus: Fantasy Under the Big Top both edited by Ekaterina Sedia.

“The stories [in Running with the Pack] veer from comedy to horror and from tragic love story to coming-of-age tale, showing the richness inherent in the idea of shifting shapes and animal strength” – Publishers Weekly

“Powerful storytelling, a minimalist prose style that does not diminish the three-dimensional characters, and a keen ear for dialog add to this novel’s many pleasures.” – Library Journal (starred review, Debut of the Month), about Winning Mars

“Sarah Monette can write like a dream.” – Charlaine Harris, about Bone Key.

“Lovers of all things robotic will enjoy this 21st-century collection of stories about the attempt to create an artificial human.” – Library Journal, about Robots

“The uniformly strong writing [in Bloody Fabulous] makes this tasty sampler a fine foray into the fashionable side of speculative fiction.” – Publishers Weekly

This is another one of those prizes I would’ve been happy to win just for the cover art.  But then I read this:

“A lovely, disconcerting book that does for Moscow what I hope my own Neverwhere may have done to London.” – Neil Gaiman, about The Secret History of Moscow.

“Goss’s collection of 16 gothic stories possesses a spare, surprising beauty, though her modern-day characters, like those in fairy tales, are constrained by the hard lessons she sets out to teach.” – Publishers Weekly

25 sets of At the Edge of Waking and In the Palace of Repose by Holly Phillips.

“[At the Edge of Waking is] an astonishing who-the-hell-is-this kind of discovery for anyone previously ignorant of her work.” – Peter Beagle

Some of you may recognize this book, as we put a special edition in the lottery earlier.

However, luckily for you, Prime sent us even more copies of it, so you have even more chances to read some of the best short stories about bookstores out there.

Shelf Life is an interesting and fun romp through the world of, mostly, second hand bookstores which invites the reader to think about books in new ways while experiencing a magic associated more with bookstores than any other types of store.” – SF Site

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Make sure to make your donation on the Worldbuilders Team Page by January 21st. For every $10 you pitch in, you get another chance to win thousands of books and DVD’s.

There are still some auctions up, including some signed Gaiman and Pratchett stuff, unreleased ARCs, and a favor from Pat. You can view all of them on our current auctions page 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 our main page.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2012 | By Amanda13 Responses

$150k Goal: Interview with Amber Benson: Authorship, Indie Film, and Erotica

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

We passed the $150k goal for the interview a long time ago, but the interview ending up being a lot of fun, and took longer to finish because of that.

As an added bonus, at the end of the interview, we announce our $450k stretch goal, so make sure to stay till the end.

So here it is: my interview with Amber Benson.

P: Heya Amber. Thanks so much for being willing to help out with Worldbuilders this year.

A: Howdy, Mr. Rothfuss, Sir. I just want to take this pre-introduction to say thank you for the opportunity, Sir. Thank you.

P: Okay. I’m notoriously bad at introductions. So how about we do it this way…

Let’s say you’re at a party and you meet someone you desperately wanted to impress. What sort of things about yourself would you casually drop into the conversation to prove you’re one of the cool kids?

A: I’m such a dork when it comes to interjecting myself into other people’s conversations – I slowly edge my way in physically and when no one blocks me out I might offer a few head nods and a laugh – I’ve been accused of laughing at stuff that’s not funny just to make people feel more comfortable or to fit in – and then when you add in someone I’m impressed by, well, I’m less verbal, more stare. That’s my contribution to coolness…the direct stare. Like if I’m silent I’m cooler.

P: Is that the key to being cool? No wonder I’m no good at it. I talk too much.

A: Yes, the silent stare is the key to being cool…or making everyone think you’re a homicidal maniac. I’m not sure which.

P: Ok we still need to do something like an introduction here. How about this. Let’s take turns listing your notable accomplishments, with the understanding that some of the things we say might be complete lies.

I’ll start with an easy one: you played Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer for about four years.

A: I played Amaziah, a male dwarf––which totally threw off all the little girls in the audience, in the Birmingham Children’s Theater production of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs when I was nine.

P: I think I saw that on IMDB.

You worked as a fortune teller in a traveling circus for a summer.

A: I have sold Magic Spin Art art and lemonade on the sidewalk in front of my house––though the lemonade was the bigger seller.

P: Once, on a drunken bet, you recorded a youtube video declaring your undying love for Orlando Bloom. It got a quarter million views before you took it down.

A: ORLANDO BLOOM!!! Get your facts straight, Mister! It was Don Knotts…jeez louise.

I co-directed a movie about aliens in an office that is called Drones and it’s on Netflix streaming. (I guess that’s more of a plug than a notable accomplishment, though I did notably accomplish it.)

P: And, lastly, you’re the author of the Calliope Reaper-Jones novels. Is that how you like to refer to the series?

A: Yeah, I guess that’s the best way to refer to them or I could just call them the Death is a PMS-y little biatch series…that could work, too.

P: Okay. On to the hard-hitting qua-journalistic type questions:

Are you a native Californian, or a transplant?

A: I am a transplanted Alabamian. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, but my formative teenage years were spent in the San Fernando Valley. So that makes me a Southern Valley girl…Like gag me with a spoon, ya’ll.

P: What are you reading right now?

A: I just read Gillian Flynn’s ‘Dark Places’ – like finished it last night – I’m slightly obsessed with dark thrillers/mysteries with twisted female protagonists. I think it’s cause I’m all lily white bread boring girl in real life – I want to get myself all wrapped up in dark stuff to counteract my typicalness.

The book before that one was Anton Strout’s ‘Dark Waters’… apparently I have a thing for books with “dark” in the titles.

P: If you had to pick your favorite book of all time, what would it be?

A: Not bloody fair!!!! Argh…too many….beautiful books…uhm…okay, probably Hermann Hesse’s “Journey To The East”. I want to live in that book.

P: Wow. Heavier stuff than I’m used to. I have a copy of Siddhartha on my shelf, but I’ve never gotten around to it. I’ll admit I have a bit of an irrational aversion to reading capital-L Literature. If it’s a classic of some sort, it’s hard for me to pick it up.

A: I like capital-L literature. Mostly because at some point I realized that a lot of it is just Harlequin Romance, but with flowerier writing.

All the same angst, but from a different time period.

Jane Eyre – flowerier writing, but a straight up (implied sex) bodice ripper.

Sense and Sensibility – flowerier writing, but straight up YA romance (with marriage and implied sex).

Siddhartha – Eat, Pray, Love took a few things from Herman Hesse.

War and Peace – all the conniving of that movie Mean Girls…bitchy women, manipulative men, naïve newbies.

P: You just saved me a whole lot of time with those summaries. Could you give me something for the Brothers Karamozov, too?

A: Damn you, Rothfuss! I’m gonna spin that question on its head and give you a run down on The Idiot (my fav Dostoevsky novel) instead:

The Idiot – uhm, a whole bunch of messiah action. So if you’re a fan of the Bible, and there are a number of you out there, you’ll love it. See the BIBLE – New Testament – for further reference.

P: Okay. Under your advisement, I’ll bump The Idiot up over Brothers Karmozov on my reading list.

A: You had better bump it up, yo. I’m in no mood for your dilly-dallying around with the whole Russian Literature canon, dude.

P: So you’re relatively new to the publishing world. Has anything about the process surprised you?

A: You do a lot of stuff for yourself – which I’m used to in the independent film world, but I thought publishing would be more hands on. Sadly, it’s just like independent film – you’re the first, last and only stop as far as getting people to fall in love with your work.

P: Speaking of indi film, I was curious to talk about Drones a bit…. Can we do that?

A: Yes. Yes, we can.

P: First, I have to say that I loved it.

A: Woohoo!! Everyone go check it out on Netflix streaming – just knowing about this movie makes you way cooler than all your un-clued in friends.

P: I seem to have developed a bit of a man-crush on Johnathan Woodward. I liked him well enough before this, but now it’s more than that. I blame you.

A: For those of you who do not know the esteemed Jonathan Woodward…well, all I have to say is “if you snooze, you lose”. No, just kidding. I feel like, in Drones, Woodso (you can call him ‘Woodso’, too, now, Pat, ’cause you are in the know!) actually channels a young Bill Murray post-Meatballs, but pre-Ghostbusters…it’s kind of uncanny.

P: How did you get involved in the project?

A: My co-director, Adam Busch, and our producer, Jordan Kessler, were looking to make a film together – one they could shoot in Jordan’s office in Louisiana. So they got our friends Acker and Blacker to write a script. The script was really good and the guys realized it needed to be made on a real set, not in Jordan’s office and they needed some directing help, so they asked me to jump on board – and that’s how it happened.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. There were no drugs or prostitutes involved with the making of this film. I swear on a stack of Acme Bibles.

P: Which do you prefer: The relatively solo nature of writing, where you’re in absolute control, but you also have to do all the work. Or the collaborative nature of TV and film where you have more help but less overall control of the finished product?

A: That’s no fair! I love them both – writing is amazing because I am God when I’m sitting at my computer. I am the Master of that Universe – the Big Banger – the Decider – and that’s a really, really nice feeling. Especially since real life is all about accepting that you have zero control over most things…and even the things you kinda have control over, you still end up ceding your power more often than you like.

On the other hand, making moves, TV, Web stuff is fucking amazing. To see something in your head and then to have it come to life is a feeling I liken to crack. Crack cocaine…a highly addictive substance. It’s super collaborative, but if you pick your circle of collaborators wisely, and trust them and their taste implicitly then you kinda can’t go wrong.

P: Since I’ve never been involved in it, it’s hard for me to understand how collaborative storytelling in TV and film really works. I end up thinking of the script writer as the creator, the actors as interpreters (of sorts), and the director as an extremely hands-on editor.

How horribly off-base is that comparison?

A: There is some truth to what you just said. I always likened being an actor to being a pawn in someone else’s chess game. I get bored easily and I like to move in lots of different directions––I’m just cool like that-Ha!––so being a pawn wasn’t the most exciting thing for me. Although, it is the pawn alone of all the chess pieces who has the ability to one day become a Queen (or a knight or a bishop or a rook)…so there’s that.

In television, they say the writer is King. In film, it’s the director…and I kind of agree with this supposition. For me, it’s just all about working with people I love and respect and trusting that the ideas they bring to the table up the game on the project.

I like to pretend to be in charge when I direct, but really, being in charge is all about letting the people around you shine…protecting them when things get tough…and not being afraid of letting the buck stop with you. I maybe the captain of the ship, but I can’t do everything.

P: At this point, you’ve done work in each of those areas: writer, actor, and director. All other things being equal, which one do you enjoy the most?

A: I guess…even though I should dither around and pretend like I think they are all equal…that directing gives me the most joy. I like leading an army and that’s what the director (if they’re a good one) does. I’ll ride into battle with my men and if I am wounded in the pursuit of creative passion then so be it.

P: Okay. Back to some book talk. How often do you check your Amazon sales rank?

A: I go a long time ignoring it…then I’ll check it obsessively for like a week and then I’ll ignore it again. It’s like being a sex addict…only there’s no sex. Just numbers and mean reviews.

P: Oh man. Tell me about it. I fell off the wagon just a couple days ago.

The Amazon wagon, I mean. Not the sex wagon.

A: There’s a sex wagon?

P: Not here in Wisconsin. We don’t go in for that sort of thing. More’s the pity.

A: I live in LA – the home of the Sex Wagon, apparently. (Got that from googling sex wagon on my computer.)

P: You’re just fucking with me at this point, aren’t you? You’re trying to trick me into googling “sex wagon” and then I’m going to see something that will leave me a gibbering wreck.

I’m not going to do it. I refuse.

A: You will either find…if you google sex wagon (in quotes) A DJ named DJ Sex Wagon or that the car with the Sex Wagon distinction is…drum roll…station wagon!!!!!

P: I’m still not falling for it.

You mentioned the mean reviews. Do they stick in your teeth too? A while back when I broke down I saw my last four Amazon reviews were all 2 and 3 stars. It took a remarkable shit on my otherwise good day.

A: Bastards.

P: Total bastards. Sharing their honest opinions in a public forum. Who do they think they are?

Out of curiosity, do you experience any of the same thing when you act? Would you occasionally go looking for reviews when you were doing Buffy and then obsess about them in the same way?

A: I learned not to give a shit about what people think of my acting. I act for myself, not for them and if they don’t like it, they can go find the sex wagon and get stuffed. (Wow, that analogy worked out well for me.)

P: What’s the most hurtful thing someone has ever said in a review of your book?

A: Oh, there are way too many bad things that have been said to fixate on just one. I actually had to stop looking at the reviews…uhm, immature is a nice word that gets used quite a bit, shallow…whiny….oh, joy. Yeah, I guess I’m a teenage girl – ‘cause those adjectives I just said, well, they’re used mostly to describe teenage girls.

P: What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

A: “You made me snort my milk, I was laughing so hard.” I am all about entertaining the peeps – my writing is the opposite of brain surgery – it should just make you laugh. Then I’ve done my whiny, shallow, immature best.

P: Do you have a particular piece of grammar that you screw up regularly?

A: “Get on a stick.” Apparently, it’s: “Get on the stick.” Which makes me think of being on the rag for some reason, so I’m never gonna use it again, I’ve decided. I also misuse semi-colons on a regular basis. I like them an awful lot, so I try and use them wherever and whenever I can.

P: Ah hell. We were getting along so well. I happen to be a staunch anti-semicolonite. (Anti-semi-coloner?)

A: I am an Anti-semi-colonic-er, too! Hehehehe. I don’t like either of them. I try not to use semi-colons or semi-colonics, but sometimes I am forced to and invariably I screw them up. Both of them.

P: If you could punch one author in the face, who would it be?

A: Myself…sometimes…but mostly I would like to baby tap Stephen King on the chin for being so damned creative. More of an annoyed punch, really, that one person can be so prolific. As far as a full on punch in the face, I reserve that for some of those Rush Limbaugh wannabe, right wing, conservative journalists/bloggers. They make my hackles rise.

P: Heh. Okay. We’re good again. I can overlook our semi-colon differences in light of that.

Rumor has it that Voltare wrote on the naked backs of his lovers. Do you have any little rituals that help you write?

A: Hmmm…I knew I liked Voltaire. I like to check into a motel on the beach for a weekend to start each book I’m working on. It’s like a ‘start-cation’. It helps me get the book going – that is, until my dad comes to visit ‘cause I always stay at a motel near him…and then I get no work done.

P: A while back I made a joke about “transition putty” on my blog. That being, of course, the stuff we writers buy at Home Depot to smooth out our rough transitions.

If you could have some sort of handyman tool like that, something like Plot Spackle or a Character Level. What would it be?

A: I would like to get a Rewrite Snake – it helps to get rid of all the crap you know doesn’t really need to be in the book.

P: So while I was doing a little research online for this interview, I was googling around and was kinda stunned at the number of pictures there were for you online. There’s fan pages… people put up Amber Benson wallpaper images for their computers….

Does all that kinda weird you out? Or is it old hat at this point?

A: It’s a little weird. I get annoyed looking at myself in the mirror. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to look at my googily face all day long on their computer. I know for fact that if you stare at my face too long it will open up a doorway to another dimension where the Fluffy-Froth people live – and no one wants to do that…unless you’re in to Sex Wagons. They all have their own Sex Wagons in Fluffy-Froth Land.

P: It’s true. I went there on spring break. I’d move there if it wasn’t for the high property taxes.

A: Great place, right? Lots of cute boys.

P: Speaking of the sex wagon, are you writing anything steamy in your next book? Because if you are, we could do another team reading at Comic Con this year….

A: The fifth and final Calliope Reaper-Jones book “The Golden Age of Death” is pretty sexless…but I could write something naughty on a napkin and read that! I promise that it is a clean napkin…not a kleenex.

P: I’ve done a ton of readings in these last few years, but that one might have been the most flat-out fun I’d had in ages….

For those of you who don’t know. Amber and I did a co-reading of a sex scene out of one of her books back in the day. The long version of the story and a video are over here.

A: I have to agree that it was balls to the wall my favorite reading. Really, it was just your accent that made the whole thing so amazing. It was SPOT ON!

P: Has writing sex scenes gotten any easier for you?

A: Yeah, a lil’ bit. I’ve found that it’s easier to write naughty bits in serious stories than in comedic ones.

By the way, I have had it up to HERE with ‘then’ and ‘than.’ From now on I’m just going to use ‘thane’ for both of them…it’s got the ‘a’ and the ‘e’, so there’s that thane.

Sorry for the digression. But seriously, when I’m writing straight up drama, I feel like I’m not allowed to laugh when I use the words “glittering woman hole” or “shining man member”, it just cheapens those glamorous, golden phrases of lasciviousness.

P: No way would you ever write something that uses the phrase “Shining Man Member.” I dare you to write a piece of erotica including that. I double-dare you….

A: Now, I don’t know if you were aware of this…but there is something physiologically wrong with my brain that makes me incapable of turning down a dare. It’s been a real problem for me, especially during those troubled adolescent, playground years when dares can make or break you popularity-wise.

With that said, I hell yeah can make “shining man member” the sexiest, naughtiest phrase that ever existed. But I double dog dare YOU to write a piece of erotica that uses the phrase “glittering woman hole” – and no hiding behind your beard because this means war, you know. A glittering woman hole/shining man member all out battle to see who is the new heir to E.L James and Anne Rampling (aka you know who).

P: Okay, hold on. We should really do this.

Here’s my thought. Right now we’re creeping on on Worldbuilder’s 400K stretch goal. When we hit that, I’m going to donate an extra 100,000 dollars to Heifer International. 

But we still need a stretch goal for our $450,000 mark. If we manage to hit that goal, how about you and I agree to write this piece of Urban Fantasy erotica together? We’ll trade it back and forth, scene by scene.

A: Oh, Mister, you are SOOOOOOO on!!!

P: I, of course, will write from the perspective of the female lead, the plucky redheaded vampire hunter named…. Um….

A: Deuteronomy Jones. That’s your character’s name. And she’s a transsexual plucky red-headed vampire hunter.

P: Oh so that’s how it’s going to be, is it?

Okay. We’re on.

You, of course, will be writing the part of Lance Franklin. A rogue warlock-in-hiding due to the secrets in his troubled past. And because he’s half-succubus. (On his mother’s side.) Also, he’s a Calvin Klein model.

Man. I don’t know if I’m excited about this. Or terrified.

Either way, you’re the best, Amber. Thanks so much for helping out Worldbuilders. And thanks for the lovely interview.

A: No, you’re the lovely interview, Mr. Patrick Rothfuss. And I look forward to some verbal dickery with you in the near and naughty future!

P: I’m looking forward to it too…

But remember everyone. It only happens if we hit $450,000 before the end of the fundraiser on January 21st at midnight.

Let’s see if we can make it happen.

Click here to donate and make it happen

Or click here for details about Worldbuilders.

Also posted in I am completely fucking serious | By Pat19 Responses

Even More DAW Books

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

A few announcements before we get to the goods.

Firstly:  Since the blog went up yesterday, we’ve gone from $328,000 to over $363,000.  We blew past the Lockless Box stretch goal and are steadily climbing our way toward the extra $100,000 for Heifer.  That’s the true power you folks have, right there.

Secondly: Our True Dungeon game auctions end tonight (along with many others).  Mary Robinette Kowal and Jim Hines had already agreed to play with us, but we’d like to reveal one more player: John Scalzi.


As you can see from his debonair hat and sweet uke, he’s going to be our bard.  If you’re at all interested in hunting lycans while being serenaded by John Scalzi, it would be in your best interest to go bid.

Thirdly: Pat isn’t writing this blog.

I (that is, Amanda) often help Pat out here on the blog.  I help answer a lot of the questions in the comments, and if there’s ever a typo or other error that gets fixed, I most likely did that, too.  When we extended the deadline of the fundraiser, it meant some blogs had to go up while Pat is out at ConFusion.  He’s booked pretty solidly while he’s there, and won’t be able to hole himself up in the hotel to write blogs.  So, he told me it was my turn.

Be gentle.

*     *     *

Our previous DAW blog had tons of books in it.  It had so many books that even they admitted they may have gone overboard – overboard in the most awesome way possible.  So, here in this second blog, you’d think we wouldn’t have very much.  In fact, we struggled to squeeze everything in without it getting unwieldy.  They truly went above and beyond for their donation this year.

No more preamble.  Let’s get right to the books.

  • 7 hardcover sets of Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines, The Silvered by Tanya Huff, and The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams.  All copies of Libriomancer and The Dirty Streets of Heaven are signed.

“This enchanting, suspenseful urban fantasy should grab fans of Charles de Lint, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and Jim Butcher.” – Booklist (starred review) about The Silvered.

  • 6 ARC copies of The Dirty Streets of Heaven.  Signed by Tad Williams.

Just to add to the awesome, DAW sent along some great ARCs, including this one.  Pat has a pretty lengthy review over on Goodreads where he gushes about how great it is, and this prize is extra awesome because they’re all signed.

  • A set of The Book of Ler and The Transformer Trillogy by M.A. Foster.

“Foster will be ranked among the greats…”  – Library Journal

Just so you know, these are both collections of M.A. Foster’s two cornerstone trilogies. That’s right, you get two books that actually contain a total of six novels–you don’t have to hunt for the rest of them.

“Cherryh has created her strongest character and her best novel in a story of space exploration, colonization and war.” – Questar, about Downbelow Station.

“Violette Malan has accomplished that most difficult fusions – she’s given a complex, high fantasy world a very readable contemporary voice.” – Tanya Huff

ARCs have always been cool to me.  I feel like I’m holding something secret, that only really special people ever get to have.  Almost every one I’ve ever held have been for Worldbuilders, or to give to Pat, so I don’t get to be one of those special people.  But now you might.

This is an ARC of a book that doesn’t come out until February.  In case you just can’t wait for the two in the lottery, we’ve decided to auction one off, too.

To bid on this, go to the auction here.

Here’s another ARC which doesn’t come out until March, and they’re all signed to boot.  I was beyond convinced by this review:

“I was captivated by Julie Czerneda’s A Turn of Light. Yep, she used her writerly powers and sucked me right in. Many fantasy novels out there are *about* magic. Few, like Julie’s, embody it.” – Kristen Britain

Six will go into the lottery, but we’re auctioning the seventh over here.

“The settings are well drawn and creative… The characters possess substance, emotions and realistic motivations… Most important, the action and surprises keep coming… this book is almost impossible to put down.” – SCI FI Weekly, about The Helix War.

I’m not going to lie – this might be my favorite prize in this blog just for the all of the cover art.  I mean, I used to tell my students all the time not to judge books by their covers, but… you can when they’re *really* nice.

“With this volume, bestseller Hickman (The Immortals) creates memorable characters and realms of immense richness, while holding the reader enthralled with exhilarating action.” – Publishers Weekly, about Song of the Dragon

“… a terrific entry into the wonderful swashbuckling fantasy world of Mickey Zucker Reichert.” – Midwest Book Review, about Flight of  the Renshai

“I love the way Nnedi Okorafor writes, the precise, steely short sentences like blows to the body, the accumulation of experiences that lean to inspired insights, and the strangeness and beauty of an Africa both imagined and real. Perception, courage, and grace illuminate Who Fears Death.” – Peter Straub

  • Plus, all of these ARCs down here:

(Click to embiggen and read all the titles)

That’s right.  Every single one of those books is an advance reader copy.  You may not realize this, but some publishers are moving away from ARCs.  In this digital age, sometimes it’s not worth it to do an expensive not-even-for-sale print run of a book that may not end up doing well.

But not DAW.  They produce a lot of ARCs.  A lot of *really* nice ARCs.  They really go the extra mile to do right by their authors.

There are a ton of ARCs this year, so simply bask in the glory that is many, many books you can win just by donating via the Team Page.

*     *     *

You only have until Monday, January 21st to donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page. For every $10 you pitch in, you get another chance to win one of these books, as well as thousands of others.

There are a bunch of awesome auctions ending tonight, including tickets to PAX East, two different ways to game with Pat, and some awesome books and art. You can view all of them on our current auctions page 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 our main page.

Also posted in a billion links | By Amanda7 Responses

Worldbuilders – A Pitch of Three Parts

Since our last blog Worldbuilders has raised another $20,000 dollars for Heifer International. That puts us at $328,000, soundly trouncing last year’s donation total of $311,000.

Not bad for a bunch of book-lovers and sci-fi geeks.

Speaking of, here’s a snippet of an e-mail I just got today:


My boyfriend and I decided that instead of Valentine’s gifts, we’re donating to Worldbuilders. We’re both such adoring fans of yours and Kvothe’s, but you’ve also made us adoring fans of the children and families that benefit from a goat or chickens and the excrements that come from both. :)

Worldbuilders is our favorite time of year thanks to you, and we just wanted to really let you know. We love you Pat! Even if it’s not here yet, I think this Valentine’s Day is going to be the best one yet.



I love you too, Sara. It’s because of people like you that Worldbuilders is a success.

Oh sure, we’re lucky enough to have some people stomp in with thousand-dollar donations. But the truth is, most of our money comes from regular folks chipping in what they can. More than 25% of the money we raise comes from people donating between 10 and 50 bucks.

I mention this because I’ve had people e-mail me saying they’re sorry they can only kick in ten or twenty bucks because they’re in college. Or because they have a new baby in the house. Or because they just lost their job.

What’s my point?

Well, my first point is to say that I know what it’s like to be strapped for cash. I was a college student for more than a decade and paid my own tuition through most of it working several jobs. After I finished grad school and got a job as a teacher, I was still poor enough to qualify for low-income housing.

Even now that I’m all internationally published and and whatnot, you know how I *really* measure my financial success?

It’s not that I can now afford burritos that cost more than 33 cents. It’s not that I can order Chinese food anytime I want. It’s not even the fact that recently, for the first time in my life, I bought a car for more than 500 dollars.

It’s this:

That’s my change jar. This is how I know I’m rich.

There are quarters in there.

There’s been a lot of no-quarters in the jar times in my life. I’ve had a fair amount of no-dimes times too. And there have been a few times when I’ve bought groceries with nickles and pennies. This is my metric for success.

My point is that I know how big a deal ten dollars can be.

My point is that when I get an e-mail that says, “I can only kick in twenty dollars because our car broke down right after Christmas.” I don’t think, “Twenty bucks? Is that it?”

No. I think: You. Are. Awesome.

What’s my point? My point is that every year y’all impress me. Every year you make me proud to be a geek.

So, because we’ve beaten last year’s total with time to spare, I’m officially declaring this year’s fundraiser a success.

(Go Team!)

That said, we are not yet an amazing success. And personally, I like to shoot for amazing whenever I can.

The fundraiser is still going until January 21st at midnight. So today, I’m making my final pitch for Worldbuilders. And it will be in, *ahem* three parts.

  • Part One: What Heifer International Does.

I could go on again about how Heifer gives people a leg up rather than a handout. I could talk about how they’re education-based. How they promote long-term sustainable growth in communities.

But honestly, I’ve said it all before. So this time, how about I post up a video instead?

Four Families: India from Heifer International on Vimeo.

We good? Yeah. I thought so.

  • Part Two: Bigger Bang For Your Buck.

This year we’re trying out the stretch goal thing, and one of our big ones happens when we hit $400,000.

Specifically, if we hit 400,000 dollars before January 21st at midnight, I’ll donate $100,000 to Heifer, bringing our yearly total to over half a million.

If not, I will keep that money and do something stupid with it. I swear I will blow it on catgirls, methadone, and multiple pairs of the same kind of shoes.

That’s probably the best way to think about it. If we make it to $400,000, not only will Heifer get a boost, but you’ll be saving me from myself. Seriously. I can’t be trusted with this amount of money. I’m already about one haircut a year away from being Howard Hughes.

  • Part Three: The Odds are in Your Favor.

As many of you know, one of the cool things about Worldbuilders is that if you donate to Heifer International on our Team Page, you have the chance to win stuff.

(We have so many books we can’t even fit them all into one picture.)

Note that I say “stuff” because while most of our donation incentives are books, we also have comics, music, and DVD’s. There’s also other miscellany in the mix, like my offer to read-and-critique your unpublished manuscript, or chances to visit the Heifer Ranch with the Worldbuilders team.

You could even win a favor from me. Something which, in the auction we’re currently running, is going for a truly baffling amount of money.

So. How likely are you to win something? Very.

Right now, if you donated $10 to the fundraiser, you’d have about a 3% chance of winning something. About a 1 in 35 chance.

In mathematical terms, that means you’re approximately ten hajillion times more likely to win something from Worldbuilders than from any official lottery.

Let’s say you donate $60, enough for Heifer’s team to go in and provide education, support, and seedlings so folks can plant some trees.

Donating $60, you have a 15% chance of winning at least one prize. That’s about a 1 in 7 chance.

Plus farmers get to prevent soil erosion on their land. Plus that cute little girl gets to eat fresh fruit. Plus you get to have a huge warm fuzzy knowing you made the world a better place.

Or, let’s say you kick in 120 bucks. Enough to buy a goat.

With that donation, your odds of winning a prize are about 30% overall.  You have about a 1 in 3 chance of winning something.

Goats provide milk, rich in calcium and protein, wonderful for growing children. Plus the extra milk can be sold, which gives the family an extra source of income. Plus, goats have babies, which Heifer families pass on to their neighbors, improving their lives too….

Or you could go all the way up to $500 dollars, enough to buy a Heifer.

(This is Heifer International, after all.)

Donating enough to buy a heifer will get you a 76% chance to win something. And really good odds of winning more than one prize. (Every 10 dollars gives you an extra chance to win, remember.)

Cows produce nearly four gallons of milk a day, which means just one cow can act as the equivalent of a small business for the family selling the milk. This money gives people the chance to educate their children, buy medicine, and generally take control of their lives.

So there you go folks. My final pitch for the year. We’ll be posting more donations in the next couple days, but this is my last hard sell.

Here’s the link to the Worldbuilders donation page.

Lastly, I’d like to add that one of the best things you can do to help Worldbuilders is to spread the word. Any boost to our signal I would take as a great kindness. So feel free to share this post around, twitter it, or use excerpts of it in your own blog.

Though preferably not the part where I joked about methadone. That would be kinda odd taken out of context.

Later space cowboys,


*     *     *

If you have any questions about worldbuilders, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

We have some cool auctions ending soon. You can see all our current auctions here.

If you’d like to see all the items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can find all the details either on my blog, or by checking out our website.

Also posted in calling on the legions | By Pat30 Responses
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