Category Archives: Worldbuilders 2015

Cool Things from Awesome Supporters

It’s been a great couple of days of fundraising here, and with less than a week left, we have a little bit of business to attend to.

  • Odds of winning a prize

First of all, yesterday, someone asked what their odds of winning a prize in the lottery were. What a fantastic question! we thought to ourselves. Surely it’ll take us ages to do such a difficult calculation, so alas, we won’t be able to answer it.

At least, that’s what we’ve said in years past. We’ve proven that we really shouldn’t be the ones trusted to do the math for odds, as evidenced by the multiple fundraiser blogs where we tried and and got the math wrong. That’s why we brought in a pro last year.

Vi Hart did the math, and we used that to create this little widget. Put in your donation, and it will tell you what the odds are that you win at least one prize.

Right now if you donate $20, enough for a flock of chickens, you have a 6% (ish) chance of winning something. (Better odds that rolling a 1 on your saving throw, and we all know how often *that* happens.)

If you donate $120, enough for a goat, you have a 34% chance of winning.

Donate enough to bring clean water to a village ($250) you have a 55% chance.

Donate enough for a Heifer ($500)  and you have a 78% chance of winning.

Keep in mind that the widget doesn’t tell you how likely you are to win multiple prizes. And some prizes contain multiple books.

What’s more, the odds will shimmy around a bit. As more people donate, the odds go down. But the more prizes we post, the odds go up. It’s also worthwhile to note that some people opt out of the prize draw, and as a result, your odds are actually a little *better* than what the widget tells you.

There is one slight flaw. If you donate enter more than 2700 dollars, the widget will show a 100% chance of winning a prize. This isn’t really true. But the widget can’t show 99.999999999%, so it rounds up.

These are amazingly good odds, folks. And We’re still got an entire weeks worth of material to add to the pot.

  • Holiday Shipping Times

If you’re like me, you’re probably *just* starting to think about doing your Holiday shopping. Luckily for you, you can do some of your shopping in The Tinker’s Packs whereas I’m denied that joy, because it’s considered tacky to give your family and friends your own merch as presents.

If you *are* considering making a few purchaces for time-sensitive holidays, you might want to check the data below. Because shipping times can be pretty brutal this time of year….

2015 Holiday Shipping Dates (1)

The international times, as always, are hard to guess and highly variable. We give a rough estimate of 2-8 weeks, not because it’ll take that long to get to your country, but because we have no way of knowing how long customs might take to get your package processed. We don’t want to make promises at this point, but it’s likely you’re still safe for another few days.

But as you can see, the last day to get the cheapest domestic shipping and be sure it’ll be there in time for Christmas is today. Every day you wait after today is going to cost you more money in shipping, so I advise at least checking things out to make sure you’re not missing out on something you desperately want.

Or, if you don’t want to worry about shipping times, get them a Gift Card. Ships to your email inbox in a matter of seconds with no risk of embarrassingly choosing the wrong size t-shirt! This is a service we provide to the community out of the love of our hearts.

* * *

The authors, publishers, and game companies that donate to us get a lot of glory, and rightfully so. They donate thousands of dollars worth of prizes to the fundraiser. They make a huge impact on things here.

But there are always people supporting the cause in their own way. Lots of our team pages are made by people asking their families to contribute to the fundraiser instead of giving Christmas gifts. There’s people holding bake sales, or their own little mini fundraisers, in honor of Worldbuilders.

And there are people sending us their own treasured possessions. Books from their personal collections, some of them signed, limited, or rare.

Today’s blog is made up entirely of these. Books that our supporters gave, a few at a time, out of the goodness of their own hearts.

We have the best supporters.

Almost all of the books in today’s blog are signed, which is an added bonus. If not by the author, then perhaps by the illustrator…


This is a hefty tome. It has some of Lovecraft’s best-known work, including the entire Cthulu Mythos. The illustrator, Les Edwards, doodled a full page in the front, making it particularly valuable.

If you want to add this to your collection, you can bid right here.

  • Lovecraft Library Bundle: Six Lovecraft Books.


If that Necronomicon is a little outside of your price range, you can make a contribution of $10 or more to the team page to be entered to win one of thousands of prizes, including this six-pack of Lovecraft stories.

First Editions

A surprising number of signed first edition books made their way to us this year, and we knew they’d be loved if we put them into the lottery.

  • First edition copy of Lock In. Signed by John Scalzi.


Lock In is one of Amanda’s favorite books, and getting a signed first edition is extra cool. But you don’t have to take our word for it.

“The novel–which contains plenty of action, great character development, vivid and believable worldbuilding and a thought-provoking examination of disability culture and politics–is definitely worth the ride.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • First edition copy of The Boy with the Porcelain Blade. Signed by Den Patrick.


“The Boy with the Porcelain Blade is an intriguing novel that opens like a flower to reveal all to those who choose to read it” –Fantasy Book Review

This is the first book in a new dark fantasy series, and we’re really excited to have one to show off in the fundraiser. The signature is even dated with March 21, 2014, so it’s got some bonus value to it. It’s going right into the lottery, so a lucky donor is going to win it…


“A beautiful story, honestly told.”―Neil Gaiman

Honestly, we’re all willing to pick up any book with a blurb like that from Neil Gaiman, and this one is particularly beautiful.


“Moore is endlessly inventive … This cetacean picaresque is no fluke – it is a sure winner” —Publishers Weekly

A lot of us in the office are big Chrsitopher Moore fans, so this first edition is particularly lusted after here at Worldbuilders HQ.

  • A set of first edition copies of Echopraxia and Blindsight. Both signed by Peter Watts.


“A paranoid tale that would make Philip K. Dick proud, told in a literary style that should seduce readers who don’t typically enjoy science fiction.” ―Kirkus Reviews

  • Auction: First edition copy of The Slow Regard of Silent Things. Signed by me, signed and remarqued by Nate Taylor.


This is a lovely donation from a supporter, who wanted to remain anonymous. Nate did a gorgeous remarque of Auri and Foxen on the dedication page, and I haven’t seen many with such extensive art before.

This one is up for auction, so if you’re interested, you can bid right here.

Otherwise Awesome Books

First editions are great, but we have a lot more signed, doodled, and otherwise awesome books we’re adding to the fundraiser, as well.

  • Auction: Collector’s edition of The Gormenghast Novels two-volume set, by Mervyn Peake.


This is super cool. The Gormenghast novels are a huge part of the history of fantasy, and they’ve all been compiled into two beautiful leatherbound volumes. One of our supporters, Jill, sent it along, and we knew we had to make sure it went to a home that would love it deeply.

If you can provide that home, bid here.


“This story blends the gripping horror and action of McCammon’s earliest novels with the empathy of his more recent work, making it one of his finest.” –Publishers Weekly

This is one of Subterranean Press’s beautiful books, and it’s been all signed up to make it that much cooler.

  • 3 copies of Diary of a Mad Brownie. Signed by the illustrator, Paul Kidby, one also signed by  Bruce Coville.


“It’s not easy to merge such disparate elements as traditional Scottish lore and modern American life, but Coville brings it off with wit, style, and respect. The first volume of the Enchanted Files series is smart, amusing, and a lot of fun” —Booklist (starred review)

This is a particular treat. Not only do we have three copies to put into the lottery, but they’re all signed by both the author and illustrator, making them extra special.


“Densely plotted and decidedly grown-up, this is YA fiction for readers who are bored of fluff and sparkles.” –SFX Magazine


“Whelan juggles wisecracking demons, Wicca, a World of Warcraft-style game, and even a sly Morrissey quote […] It’s a hoot.” –The Guardian


“Hegarty’s debut and the first of a projected series is Ghostbusters meets Percy Jackson as written by Terry Pratchett. Readers will be hunting for the sequel in short order.” –Kirkus Reviews


“Full of vivid characters and terrific world building, Generation V is a fun, fast-packed romp of a story that kept me glued tot he pages to the very last word. Loved it! Bravo, M.L. Brennan, bravo!”–Devon Monk

I love seeing inscriptions like this, because the winner of this in the lottery is going to be able to look back on it for a long time, brag to their friends, and show it off as something cool they got for doing something cool. It’s a win-win-win.

  • 3 copies of A Study In Scarlet. Signed by the illustrator, Gris Grimly.


I think we all know a Sherlock Holmes story or two, but an illustrated version signed by the illustrator would be a good addition to your collection. And the quick doodle with the signature is pretty awesome. We had a copy of Neil Gaiman’s The Dangerous Alphabet last year, illustrated by Gris Grimly, and everyone crowded around it for a while, pointing out all the brilliant details he adds to his art.


This is a pretty rare book. Subterranean Press doesn’t even allow people to order more than one, and it was limited to only 500 copies. This particular copy is number 331, and includes roughly 70 black and white interior illustrations, including chapter heads, full page illustrations, and vignettes, as well as three full-color interior illustrations.

It’s signed by both Martin and the artist, Ted Nasmith, and it’s already being bid on pretty ferociously over on ebay. If you want it, get in on it quick.

  • A Buttload of ARCs from Shane.


One of our supporters, Shane, runs a book review blog and ends up with a lot of ARCs because of it. He sent us “a giant Target diaper box” (his words) full of ARCs, and rather than keep all the coolness for people who can afford to bid, we’re putting them all into the lottery.

There are ARCs from authors like Neal StephesonKen Liu, Chris Beckett, David Weber, and a lot, lot more. And yes, they arrived taped safely inside a Target diaper box. Size 6.

Since they’re all in the lottery, every $10 you donate gets you another chance to win some of these ARCs. If you’ve been holding back, the fundraiser has less than a week left at this point, so you might want to jump in soon…

* * *

Don’t forget to check out the store if you’re shopping for holiday gifts. You’re kind of late for Hanukkah, but maybe that’s an endearing trait to your loved ones. Like we said, today’s the last day for cheap shipping for Christmas, and it’s only going to get riskier the longer you wait.

There are lots more auctions up right now, too, and we haven’t even featured most of them yet. If you want to get a jump on the bidding, you can check them out right here.

And, as always, you can get your name in the hat for one of the thousands of prizes in the lottery, and help make the world a better place at the same time, by making a donation to our fundraiser page. The entire Worldbuilders Team will grin like idiots if you do. It’s been a pretty goofy looking office for a while now.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat11 Responses

So, SO Many Signed Books from Authors

Over the weekend, while I was in the middle of a livestream, this year’s fundraiser quietly ticked past $886,000.

That might seem like an oddly specific number to be excited about, but as everyone who happened to be watching me at that particular moment knows, $886,000 is the amount of money we raised in last year’s fundraiser. It’s a big deal for team Worldbuilders that we’ve managed to beat last year’s total.

As I write this, we’re at $910,000. We have a week to go, and it looks like we’re on track to hit a million dollars. In fact, it looks like we might smash through a million and carry on out the other side.

Every year you all impress me with your generosity. And let me assure you, your generosity is having a big impact. You see, Heifer International does a lot more than just give livestock to people.

In Bangladesh, for example, the village of Bhairav is flooded every year, making it impossible for children to travel to schools that are far away.

This problem is bigger than it might look at first glance. You see, if children miss out on a good education, it effectively cripples them for the rest of their lives. Without a good education, you can’t get a good job. Without a good job, you can’t make good money. Without money, your children end up hungry and they can’t get decent medical attention, a good education….

To fix this problem, Heifer teamed up with a local women’s group to open the Bhawanipur education center so children have a school that’s closer to home. But that’s only half the battle. You see, a school needs money to run…


Heifer worked with the women’s group to set up a rice bank where donations of rice are sold and the money is put into a group fund that covers expenses like rent and the teacher’s salary.

The beauty of this system is that it’s self sustaining. Now that it’s set up, they no longer need Heifer’s support. They’re taking care of themselves.

And that’s part of what our money is doing. We’re not just buying livestock, we’re changing lives. And we’re changing them in a sustainable, long-term way.

* * *

Authors always stomp out in a big way by sending us signed copies of their books, or full series, or sometimes rare books from their own collections.

For every $10 you donate on our team page, you have the chance to win these books as well as thousands of others we’re giving out at the end of the lottery.

  • First edition copies of The Bassoon King. Signed by Rainn Wilson. 5 in the lottery and 1 up for auction.


We met Rainn Wilson when we were in Los Angeles for Beyond Hunger. He’s a huge supporter of Heifer International, and that’s enough to make him cool in my book. But it turns out he’s also a delightfully gracious person, and offered to send along some signed copies of his new memoir for us to use for the fundraiser.

There are a few in the lottery, but we also have a first edition/first printing signed copy up for auction right here.

  • Copies of Zombie Baseball BeatdownPump SixShip Breaker, and The Water Knife. All signed by Paolo Bacigalupi, and one of each available as an auction.


Paolo sent us a LOT of books this year, and we were all too happy to put them to good use.

Amanda has a particular fondness for this edition of Ship Breaker, because it was one of the books that Subterranean sent many of during her first year working at Worldbuilders. It’s a beautiful edition, and it’s one of the first books she really lusted after in the fundraiser.

Paolo has signed them all, and in addition to the ones in the lottery, we’re putting one of each title up for auction. If you want Zombie Baseball Beatdown, bid here. If you want Pump Six, bid here. If you want Ship Breaker, bid here, and if you want The Water Knife, bid here.

  • Copies of Windup Girl and Drowned Cities. All signed by Paolo Bacigalupi, limited edition versions up for auction.


We have a couple of different versions of these up for grabs. There are hardcover and trade copies of Windup Girl and trade copies of Drowned Cities in the lottery, both signed and definitely cool.

But we also got two out of the 300 limited edition Subterranean Press copies for each one, so we’ve got one of each in the lottery, and one of each up for auction. If you want a seriously-collectible version of Windup Girl you can bid here, and you can go here to bid on the limited edition Drowned Cities.

  • Copies of the Forbidden Library series, The Shadow Campaigns Series, and John Golden & The Heroes of Mazaroth. All signed by Django Wexler. Forbidden Library and Shadow Campaigns also up in auction.


Django Wexler just did an awesome stretch goal for us, sending over a video of him painting 3 random miniatures, including a thief giving someone the finger. In addition to that stretch goal, though, he sent over a lot of books. We put one of each into the lottery, and we have the two series sets up for auction as well.

If you want a signed set of Forbidden Library books, you can bid on those here, and if you want the signed Shadow Campaigns books you can bid here.

  • A copy of Dust and Light, and Sets of the Collegia Magica series. All signed by Carol Berg. 4 sets in the lottery and 1 up for auction.


“An absolutely gorgeous writer…[who] does incredible worldbuilding.” —C. E. Murphy

Authors are always so generous with their books, and this is another prime example of that. Carol gave us a copy of the first book of her new series, as well as 5 sets of the Collegia Magica series. We’ve put 4 sets into the lottery, and the last one is available for auction right here.

  • Copies of the Delia Martin series, including a coverplate. All signed by Jaime Lee Moyer. One for lottery and a set of ARCs for auction.


Jaime sent us more than one set of her books, and we put one in the lottery, but when we realized the second set was entirely made up of signed ARCs, we knew we had to auction it off.

  • Copies of Armada audiobook and first edition hardcover. All signed by Ernest Cline. One of each up for auction.


I have a lot of love for Ernest Cline, and he’s always been a wonderful supporter of the charity. This year he passed along multiple versions of Armada, so we put some in the lottery, but a few up for auction. Because really, who doesn’t love signed first editions?

You can bid on the signed audiobook edition here, and the signed first edition right here.

  • Set of the Lightbringer series. Signed by Brent Weeks.


This is one of my favorite blurbs I’ve ever seen for a book. Ever.

“Brent Weeks is so good it’s starting to tick me off.”―Peter V. Brett

  • Copies of Servants of the Storm, Hit, and Wake of Vultures, each with a temporary tattoo and bookmark. All signed and doodled by Delilah S. Dawson.


Let me tell you, Delilah S. Dawson writes a great story if you put her on a stage at the same time as Chuck Wendig, Sam Sykes, and Stephen Blackmore. She’s been a supporter of the charity in a variety of ways, and adding to the lottery is no exception.

“Dawson’s latest is a raw, gritty near-future dystopian tale with noir undertones . . . Thought-provoking, disturbing, and suspenseful.” –Booklist

  • ARCs of A Raven’s Shadow series. Signed by Anthony Ryan.


“[L]eaves you both satisfied and on the edge of your seat for what happens next. Loved it.”—Tenacious Reader

This is one of a few sets of a series where the author sent us all ARCs. It’s not easy to get your hands on a signed copy of an ARC, so they’re pretty valuable. A lot of times we auction things like this off, but we wanted to give someone the chance to win this coolness in the lottery, where even a donation of $10 gets you the chance to win it.


This is something extra cool. Not only is it buy Zach Weinersmight of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (which, if you aren’t already familiar with, you should take the time to peruse), but it’s a choose your own adventure book.

Those two things are enough to make it awesome, but this copy in particular is signed, and going into the lottery for anyone to win.

  • William Shakespeare’s The Phantom of Menace. Signed by Ian Doescher.


“Enjoy this tale in iambic pentameter, for it has all the necessary aspects of any Shakespeare play – the betrayal, the hope, the tragedy…This book is necessary for any Star Wars fan’s collection.”—Geeks of Doom


“…a spectacular novel that pulled me in from the first page and refused to let me go till I turned the last page.” –I Heart Reading


Michael has been donating a read-and-critique for years now, but this year, in addition to donating TWO critiques (one of which can be won by donating to the WriMos page), Michael also sent along a set of his series for the lottery.

“This is a fast-paced and smooth read from the very beginning, and towards the end Martinez builds up the suspense and urgency like a pro….adventurous, original, and a blast to read.” –

  • A set of the Immortal Descendants series. Signed by April White.


April White has been contributing for a while, including tuckerizations and and special stuff from her desk, but that stuff was all auctioned off, so we’re glad to have a full signed set of her books to put into the lottery.

  • A set of The Others series. Auctions: ARC of Marked in Flesh (to be relased in March) and Murder of Crows audiobook. All signed by Anne Bishop.


Anne Bishiop sent us signed copies of the first three books The Others series, and we put that into the lottery, but we couldn’t pass up on auctioning the other stuff she sent us. One is a signed audiobook copy of Murder of Crows, the second book, which deserves a loving home. If you can provide that loving home, you should bid right here.

The other is an ARC of Marked in Flesh, which won’t be released until March 8, 2016. If you want to get a sneak peek at the fourth book in The Others series, you should bid on it right here and have months of bragging rights.

  • A set of The Borden Dispatches, I am Princess X, and a limited edition copy of Jacaranda. All signed by Cherie Priest.


Cherie Priest sent over a lot of books this year, and they’re all going into the lottery. There’s a set of The Borden Dispatches, all signed, and then there’s a copy of I am Princess X, a YA cyberthriller mystery. All of these are likely to make anyone happy, but there’s something extra special going in, too.

The copy of Jacaranda she sent along is a Subterranean Press limited edition, which was limited to 250. It’s beautiful, and rather than auctioning off we put it into the lottery, because we think everyone who donates should have the chance to win this beauty.


We passed Peter’s stretch goal recently, and we’re all eagerly anticipating the video of him singing a Worldbuilders-themed cover of Bohemian Rhapsody. If his past videos are any kind of example, this is going to be amazing.

On top of being a fantastic musician, Peter’s a great author, and he sent us a set of his series, which is in the lottery just for you. Well, possibly for you. If you donate at least $10.


This book’s premise was enough to make Amanda interested. In this world, the gods have been imprisoned after they had attempted to enslave all of humankind. The protagonist, Ses, is raised to forge wrightings, the tools that are used to maintain that prison and imbued with soul energy.

Seriously cool. Gregory sent along 4 copies, and we’re putting them all in to the lottery.


“Seriously, if you’re looking for a solid plot with characters you can relate to, this book is for you. It was easy to read, easy to follow, and even easier to enjoy. Don’t let this one slip through your fingers.” –

  • Copies of The Dragons of Heaven. Signed by Alyc Helms.


“All the fun of pulp adventure, filtered through a twenty-first century lens. Helms isn’t content simply to play in the genre; she questions it, complicates it, adds layers it didn’t have eighty years ago. Missy’s journey to become Mr. Mystic isn’t the usual heroic training montage – but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.” –Marie Brennan


Bishop was hugely generous, and matched what his tuckerization this year raised as a donation to Worldbuilders. On top of what was already an awesome donation, he sent us the two books currently in the American Faerie Tale series for us to share with our lovely donors.

  • Copies of Cracking the Sky and Edge of Dark. Signed by Brenda Cooper.


“Brenda Cooper’s universe is detailed, inventive, and ultimately dazzling.  I will remember Chrystal for a very long time.” –Nancy Kress

  • Auction: First edition copy of Voyage of the Basilisk. Signed by Marie Brennan.


If you love Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series, this might pique your interest. If you didn’t already know, Marie Brennan started her own team page on the Worldbuilders fundraiser, where you can make contributions, as well as directly buy copies of her books, and books by other authors, all in honor of Worldbuilders.

This particular book, though, since it’s a first edition, first printing, is up for auction for the collectors out there. You can bid on it right here.

  • Copies of Star Wars: Razor’s Edge, a set of the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, a set of the Books of the Raksura series, and audiobooks of City of Bones and Wheel of the Infinite. All signed by Martha Wells.


“Wells…merrily ignores genre conventions as she spins an exciting adventure around an alien hero who anyone can identify with.” –Publishers Weekly

Martha Wells does not mess around. She’s got so many different types of books out there, and she sent us a smattering of all of them, including her Star Wars novel, and they’re all signed.

  • Goblin Secrets and Ghoulish Song, and Ambassador and Nomad. All signed by William Alexander.


“The mythic resonance in Alexander’s storytelling, coupled with his smart, graceful writing, make this novel feel both pleasantly old and thoroughly new.” –Locus Magazine

  • Auction: Your own personalized, annotated copy of any Sherwood Smith book.


This is a first of its kind for Worldbuidlers. Sherwood Smith contacted us, and she didn’t want to send a specific book. Instead, she wanted us to auction off the opportunity to get any book of hers, signed, doodled, personalized, and annotated as the winner sees fit. Here’s exactly what she said:

I wanted to offer any of my books, which the person could name. I would personalize it for them–maps, drawings, marginal comments, footnotes, whatever they want. Anything over [a final bid of], say, $250 I would handwrite a between-the-scenes story, according to a prompt by the auction winner.

That’s right. Your own, hand-written, bonus scene in the book if it goes for more than $250. This is a huge deal, you guys. If you want to have this for your very own, bid right here, early and often.

  • Auction: ARC of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Signed by Neil Gaiman.


I’m not sure if I need to tell you how cool this is. It’s an ARC, numbered 18 out of only 500 ever made available. It’s signed by Neil Gaiman. In a cursory search online, I can’t even find one of these available to tell you how valuable it is. Richard Kadrey sent us this from his personal collection, and the whole Worldbuilders team has been coveting it ever since.

There’s already been a lot said about this book, both here on the blog and on Goodreads. Suffice it to say, you should read it if you haven’t. And if collectible rarities are a thing you’re interested in. you should bid on it right here.

  • Numbered, leather-bound 10th Anniversary edition of Elantris. Signed by Brandon Sanderson. One in the lottery and one up for auction.


Brandon Sanderson sent us some seriously impressive editions of Elantris. In honor of the 10th anniversary, he’s had a gorgeous leather-bound edition printed, including a 16-page full-color insert at the beginning of the book highlighting some of the beautiful Elantris covers from around the world.

These are numbered 209 and 210. We put number 209 into the lottery, and number 210 is up for auction right here. If you love beautiful books, this is for you. And honestly, who doesn’t love beautiful books?

* * *

For those of you keeping track at home, this brings us to over 2,000 prizes in the lottery (2015 to be precise), worth about $66,000. The lottery is jam packed with goodies for you to win if you donate $10 or more to the fundraiser, and we have auctions for people who don’t love leaving things to chance.

We’ve got 8 days left, folks, and I’m excited to see how far we can go in the next week.

If you want to do something to help, share us around. Tell our story, point people to the fundraiser page, and explain the impact Heifer International can have. Because the more people who know, the bigger impact we’ll all have.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat13 Responses

Cool Comics and Awesome Art

Heifer International is full of, and run by, a lot of truly wonderful people dedicated to fighting poverty. They work tirelessly day and night to make the world a better place. You might not guess it by looking at them, but the folks at Heifer are also a big bunch of nerds.

They promised us a stretch goal this year, but kept it kind of secret what they were actually going to do for us. All we knew was that they’d be sending us a video as soon as they were done. What they sent us was this:

Yeah. They’re our kind of people.

Comics/Graphic Novels

  • Special edition hardcover copies of Lookouts Volume 1. Signed by Gabe and Tycho.


The guys over at Penny Arcade are great, and they made sure to get involved in the fundraiser this year in a big way.  These are pretty awesome collections of the six-volume Lookouts comic book series, put together into a limited edition hardcover. It has bonus concept art and an alternative cover included, so if you’re a geek for Lookouts (and even if you’re not) you’re going to get a lot of joy out of these.

  • Auction: Lookouts & Penny Arcade prints with a Special Edition hardcover copy of Lookouts Volume 1. All signed by Gabe and Tycho.


(Click to Embiggen)

There was a lot more passed along, so we figured we’d include one of everything Penny Arcade sent us in one massive auction. It has the special edition hardcover book, plus a Daughters of Eyrewood print, Parts 1-6 of A Boy Must Learn, Parts 1-5 of The Judging Wood, and A Trick of Retrospective, all signed by both Gabe and Tycho.

Bid on this coolness right here.

And for those of you who are fans of Lookouts…

  • Store: Lookouts collaboration with Penny Arcade.

Lookouts Beneath the Forest Floor

(Click to embiggen)

Last year, I won a guest appearance in Penny Arcade as a part of their annual Child’s Play fundraiser. We chatted for a while about what we could do for the strip, and in the end, rather than have my hobo-looking self make a guest appearance, I offered up some of my words instead. Mike came up with this beautiful thing, and then generously offered to let us make prints of it that we could sell for the Tinker’s Packs.

You can buy a copy for yourself right here. I’ll even sign it if you like….


The good thing about comics and graphic novels is that they’re usually pretty small, so people don’t seem to mind shipping us a bunch of them all at once. This is thirty prizes in the lottery, and they’re going to delight thirty people with their art, charm, and wit.

  • 7 copies of X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back!, 10 copies of Iron Man: War of the Iron Men, and 3 copies of Astonishing Thor.


You might not have heard of this little indie group called Marvel comics. They’re not a very big deal these days, but they’ve got some cool characters like Iron Man and Thor, so we’re excited to have some of the comics to help spread the word. That said, even less known is Pixie from X-Men, and she looks like she could really mess someone up with her pink sword.

  • Auction: Prints and an original art panel from Goblins. Signed by Tarol Hunt.


A new trend is developing in our donations where artists have sent us their original sketches from their work. I am a big fan of this development.

We’ve got a variety of Goblins prints available here, including an original sketch from a panel of the comic, all of which are signed by Tarol Hunt. If you love Goblins, then you should really grab all of this coolness right here.


At GenCon last year we had an information table for Worldbuilders that some of our staff manned, sharing what we do and helping out with the writing panels. We ran into Maxwell Alexander Drake there, and when he asked what we do here, we told him.

Immediately he handed over this copy of the SnarfQuest 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition to include in the fundraiser. It’s an awesome hardcover edition, and it’s number 330 of only 350 that were signed by both Larry Elmore and Maxwell Alexander Drake.

This is too cool to pass up. Bid on it right here.

  • Auctions: Original page art + doodled copy of the book from Porcelain: A Gothic Fairly Tale. Original page art + doodled copy of the book from Porcelain: Bone China. All signed by Chris Wildgoose.


If you haven’t read Porcelain yet, do. I loved it so much I blurbed it a while back.

“I loved the feel of it, like an old-school faerie tale. Tight and well-written. A little mystery, a little humor, a little horror. It made me smile in places and get a little weepy in others. Everything I want in a story.”

It’s a beautiful series, and here we have two sets of one original page art with its respective book for the first two books in the series. You can bid on the set for book one (A Gothic Fairy Tale) right here, and book two (Bone China) right here.

  • Auctions: Original page art + doodled copy of the book from Butterfly GateOriginal page art of a Rothfuss Cameo + doodled copy of the book from BriarAll signed by Chris Wildgoose.


(Embiggen to see the mighty Rothfuss twins)

Porcelain isn’t the only project worth looking into, though. Here we have two more sets of original art with a signed copy of its book, one of Butterfly Gate, a silent, sci-fi oddysey, and the other of Briar, a story of myth and folklore. And apparently really creepy Rothfuss twins.

You can bid on Butterfly Gate right here, and on Briar right here. I know you won’t be disappointed.

  • Improper Books Bundle: Porcelain 1 & 2, Butterfly Gate, Briar, Night Post, MULP 1 & 2, and Knight & Dragon. 4 sets in the lottery, and one up for auction.


This bundle does not mess around. It has copies of everything Improper Books has produced, so you’ll have a lot of good reading ahead of you. We’re putting 4 whole sets into the lottery, but for those of you who love collecting beautiful graphic novels and comics, you can bid on the auction right here.

  • Auction: First edition copy of The Gigantic Beard that was Evil. With signed bookplate from Stephen Collins.


This book comes up a lot in conversations I have for some reason.

All self-deprecation aside, this book is really beautifully made, and having a signed first edition copy is an added bonus. If you want to read about the Gigantic Beard that was Evil, you should bid on this right here.

Signed and Cool Art

We’ve worked with a lot of artists over the years, and they’re lovely people. You may have heard of my own drawing skills, and so real artists seem to me to be something like wizards, with the arcane ability to make their pictures look good. I don’t know how they do it, but I like it.

  • Auction: Limited Edition Star Wars Celebration poster, signed by Karen Hallion.


Karen Hallion is one of our favorite artists. She collaborates with us on a calendar every year, and her stretch goal of drawing a Rothfuss-inspired Doctor Who is eagerly anticipated.

She’s a fantastic artist, and this poster helps prove it. This is one of only 250 made, and the only way to get them was to be at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, CA back in April. It’s in Karen’s wheelhouse of pop art mashed up with classic paintings, and it’s seriously beautiful. If you want one, bid right here.

  • Auction: Commissioned marker illustration of your favorite pop culture character from Karen Hallion.


Karen didn’t stop by simply sending us a really rare print. She’s offering up the chance for your very own marker illustration from her of the pop culture character of your choice. She’s willing to work with you on it to be sure it’s something she can do, and then you’ll get a one-of-a-kind piece from Karen herself.

It’s a pretty sweet deal. If this is something you’re interested in, you should bid here.

  • Auction: Copper foil Cinder Spires maps, signed by artist Priscilla Spencer and Jim Butcher, with an ARC of Aeronaut’s Windlass signed by Jim Butcher.


Priscilla Spencer does maps for a lot of fantasy authors, including Kevin Hearne, Harry Connolly, Myke Cole, Saladin Ahmed, and Jim Butcher. These maps in particular are for Jim’s latest series, The Cinder Spires, and they’re fantastic.

They’re printed on navy blue felt paper with copper foil, signed by both Priscilla and Jim Butcher. As an added bonus, there’s a signed ARC of the Aeronaut’s Windlass, so you can have a complete collector’s set. Bid on it right here.

  • Auctions: Art from Alexa Duimstra, part 1: Young Kvothe watercolor, Kvothe playing the lute watercolor, and Vulnerable Kvothe watercolor. All signed by the artist.


This artist gifted a few pieces in the past, and we were all too happy when she offered to make more for the fundraiser. Here we have the many faces of Kvothe available.

You should really take the time to look at them in their full-sized glory over in the auctions. You can bid on Young Kvothe right here, Kvothe playing the lute right here, and Vulernable Kvothe right here.

  • Auctions: Art from Alexa Duimstra, part 2: Auri charcoal and calk, Denna watercolor, and Felurian charcoal and chalk. All signed by the artist.


(Seriously, click to embiggen)

Part two of the art from Alexa features all the ladies she’s drawn for us. There’s two different versions of Auri, one in watercolor and one in chalk, a very accurate depiction of Denna, and a beautiful sketch of Felurian. You can even see pictures of the process of creating Felurian over on her tumblr.

These are all beautiful, one of a kind pieces. You can bid on charcoal Auri here, Denna here, or Felurian here.

  • Auction: A bundle of Charmed Realm art. All signed by Paul Kidby.


Paul Kidby is a prolific artist, known best for all of the work he’s done for and with Terry Pratchett. There’s a lot more of his work out there, though, and the Charmed Realm is is a great collection of his faerie and folklore art. This bundle comes with the hardcover book (complete with dragon doodle), the folio full of 6 prints, a Daybreak card, and bookmark. If you like mythical creatures and beautiful art, you can bid on this here.


If you missed Concert Against Humanity, you regret it. That is an indisputable fact.

These posters were made specifically for the concert and literally thrown at guests on their way out (if you don’t believe us, you don’t know the kind of people drawn to Cards Against Humanity). There was a signing line where attendees could get their posters signed by most of the performers, though a few had to duck out early. Four mostly-signed posters are going into the lottery.

Then we have a special one. A poster that was passed around backstage. A poster signed by everyone, including Kumail Nanjiani and Cameron Esposito, who had to leave before the great signing line. That makes these posters quite a rarity, as any others floating around probably aren’t signed by these two. If you want this super-special poster, bid on it here.

* * *

Last night, for the first time, Fallout 4 didn’t win the voting in our beautiful game, and people actually got to see a stream of me writing book 3. If you missed it in all of its clicky keyboarded goodness, you can watch past streams right here, and they’ll be up on YouTube later as well.

Remember, every dollar donated counts as a vote for the next stream, so if you want some say, make sure to donate.

There will be a bunch of auctions ending on Sunday, so if any of our crafts, swords, collectibles, or games we have up for auction were enticing to you, you’ve only got a couple of days left to bid.

Thanks for making the world a better place with us.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat11 Responses

Valyrian Steel and Wonderful Miscellany

Things are going really well over here at Worldbuilders. There are 11 days left, which means we’ve well and truly crossed the halfway point, and have started the mad snowball that is the final third of the fundraiser.

Headquarters is a whirlwind of activity. Every day more books, games, and coolness come in from authors, publishers, and other sponsors, auctions are assembled by our team, and orders are packaged and shipped out from our online store.  Best of all, donations keep rolling in on the Worldbuilders Team page.

Today we have about 20 different auctions going up for you to drool over. They vary wildly from rare, limited edition weapon replicas, to handmade holiday ornaments, to a professional online tarot reading class, to collectibles signed by over 30 different authors.

There’s something in here for pretty much everyone. But first, the weapons.

Donations from Valryian Steel

Valryian Steel is the licensed maker of swords and other replicas from Game of Thrones, and they do great work. A lot of their stuff is limited edition, but all of it is cool.

  • Auctions: Arya Stark’s Needle, and Khal Drogo’s Arakh.


How about a couple signature weapons?

Here we have Arya Stark’s sword, Needle (that’s the top photo). It’s made of stainless steel, the hilt is leather with antiqued brass handle parts, and it’s mounted on a wooden plaque with the Direwolf sigil silkscreened onto it. You can find more photos and bid on it right here.

And the replica of Arakh (the bottom photo) is a limited edition piece, one of only 2500 made. There’s a certificate of authenticity and everything. It comes with an awesome display plaque, and it’s full tang, so it’s seriously hefty.

You can bid on this limited edition piece right here.

  • Auctions: Jaime Lannister’s Sword. Lannister Shield. 


These are two separate options, so the collectors out there might want to bid on both.

First we have Jaime Lannister’s Sword, which is one of only 2500 made. It’s a 30 inch blade made of stainless steel, with a wooden plaque with the Lannister sigil silkscreened onto it. It can be yours if you bid on it here.

Then there’s one of only 1000 Lannister Shields. It’s a 7-pound beast, and while it doesn’t come with swords, it does have 3 sword hanging slots to display your current collection. You can bid on it right here.

  • Auctions: Brienne’s Oathkeeper blade, and the Oathkeeper made with Damascus Steel


We have two versions of the Oathkeeper sword available for auction, and they’re both beautiful. The first is their standard replica with a 32 inch blade, a bronze plated hilt, and the wooden plaque with the Tarth sigil. It’s made of stainless steel, damn beautiful, and you can bid on it right here.

The second one, though, is a bit of a rarity. There were only 500 made, and it’s made with high carbon damascus steel. In all other respects it’s identical, but this one is much more collectible, and  honors the story of the blade being forged from the melted-down Valyrian steel of Eddard Stark’s blade, Ice. Also, damascus steel is breathtaking in person.

You can bid on it right here.

Utter Miscellany

One of the best parts about Worldbuilders Miscellany blogs is that they’re filled with lots of random stuff. Handmade things, rare things, unique things, and valuable things. This year is no exception.

We have a few different categories of items to show off: Crafts, Metals, Fragile, Otherworldly, and Massively Signed. Let’s check them out…

  • Crafts Auctions: Slow Regard E-Reader Cover, Tardis Quilt, and hand-embroidered tapestry from Sherwood Smith.


(Embiggening goes a long way here. Click the image to be amazed.)

First, we have a Slow Regard e-reader cover left. One of the Worldbuilders Team, Rachel, hand-made these for the Geeks Doing Good fundraiser this past summer, and she donated one more to the cause for us to auction right now. It’s made from an actual Slow Regard cover, and fits e-readers or tablets from 7″-8.5″. You can grab the last of these right here.

Then we have the TARDIS quilt our volunteer, Tracy, made. It is a life-size TARDIS, and as you can see from the above photo, it took some doing just to display it properly. If you love the Doctor, crafts, and being warm, you should bid on this beautiful quilt right here.

This last one is a hand-embroidered flag from Sherwood Smith, beloved author and supporter of Worldbuilders. She’s gone above and beyond for ages, but this tapestry might take the cake. It depicts The Fox symbol from her Inda series, and she sent it along after toiling away at it for ages. You can bid on it right here.

  • Metal Auctions: A Copper Goat from Esoteric Garage, Prototype Dice from Shire Post Mint, and an Iron Drab necklace from Volunteer Tracy and Nicole.


Tait over at Esoteric Garage has made a lot of cool stuff for us over the years, and this copper goat is a nice part of that. It’s the last of its herd, designed off of the Worldbuilders logo, and we’ve put it up for auction right here for those of you who love it as much as we do.

The copper dice prototypes were made by Tom Maringer at Shire Post Mint to help decide on the different ways they could be shaped, struck, and sanded. The final dice made it into our store, but these prototypes didn’t have a home. If you want to provide that home, you can bid on this set of 6 odd dice right here.

The last Metal auction is made from one of the fairly rare Iron Drabs (Version 1) from Shire Post Mint. Our volunteer, Tracy, (the same one who made the TARDIS quilt) had hers made into a necklace a long time ago, and she and Nicole from The Tinker’s Packs worked together to make another one to auction off. Here it is for you to bid on and possibly give as a seriously cool Christmas gift.

  • Fragile Auctions: Break in Case of Math with Vi Hart Marker, Set of 6 Literary Ornaments, and a Window Computer Zonk from Let’s Make a Deal.


The “Break in case of Math” case was probably the best idea ever a product. When my friend Vi Hart sent us the sharpies she used in her YouTube videos for the fundraiser, I immediately wanted to display them properly, for emergency situations. The case is lovely hardwood with an etched acrylic cover, and it comes with a doodled Card of Authenticity from Vi, plus a hefty metal hammer to use in mathematical emergencies. We put most of them up in our summer fundraiser, but we figured this last one should come out of hiding. If you want to grab the last of these emergency sharpies, bid here.

An awesome supporter named Nicole from Quirky Christmas also nailed our target demographic, sending us 6 different tree ornaments using text from 6 different books: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (twice), Star Trek the Next Generation, and Game of Thrones. If you want this delightfully nerdy collection of ornaments, bid on it right here.

And one of the coolest, weirdest donations we’ve ever gotten: A ZONK from the game show Let’s Make a Deal. Zonks are the slightly-off gag prizes you can win on the show, and the crew from the show donated this Zonkrosoft Window Computer, complete with a mouse, keyboard, and, you know, Window. Plus there’s a signed photo from the Let’s Make a Deal hosts. You can bid on it right here.

  • Otherworldly Auctions: Professional Online Tarot Card Class, and A Great Big Bundle of Nightwish Swag.


We have never really been able to offer something like this before. Melissa from Little Fox Tarot has offered to do an online Intro to Tarot class with the winner of this auction via Google Hangouts or Facetime. Bring up to 4 friends to learn how to recognize the basic meaning for all 78 tarot cards. Bid on that here.

Then there’s Nightwish.

People have been sending links for ages, showing us that Nightwish has a song on their most recent album called “Edema Ruh.” Apparently they’re huge fans of the books, and it’s a fantastic album. They were kind enough to send an “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” care package, which includes 2 CDs (original Finnish and US versions), 2 signed posters, signed postcards, and a signed tour book, all signed by the entire band. You can have all this signed goodness for yourself if you win this auction right here.

  • Massively Signed Auctions: NYCC Letters, signed by 34 guests at New York Comic Con, and a journal signed by 37 different sci fi/fantasy authors.


One of the cool things that’s started happening is people have begun collecting signatures expressly for Worldbuilders. They’ll find something cool, then talk to all of the authors at a con or event and ask them to scribble their signature, a note, or a doodle onto it. Right now, we’ve got two such things available. The fist are the letters NYCC, signed by 34 different authors at New York Comic Con. Each letter is about 9 inches tall so they’d be perfect to hang up and show off to all of your friends. If you want to show off, they’re up for bids right here.

Then there’s what’s been lovingly dubbed the “Autograph Starter Kit.” 37 different authors wrote quotes from their books and signed underneath. Some authors doodled things, like Sam Sykes who doodled a little pug, or the doodle of Spock that Marco Palmieri drew. And there are plenty of pages left for you to continue the tradition yourself at cons and signings in the future. You can see photos of some of the pages and then bid on it right here.

* * *

If you want to see all of our auctions currently running, you can see the full list right here. There’s games, signed books, and everything you’ve seen here. If you keep an eye on that page, you might get a sneak peek of what’s going to be coming up next week, too…

There’s still so much to show off, folks. Remember, there’s over 1,800 prizes in the lottery right now, and in the last two weeks of fundraising we’ll be adding even more. Just $10 gets you the chance to win, and the more you donate, the better your chances get, and the bigger difference we can make in the lives of people who need it.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat13 Responses

Cheapass Games, Boss Monster, and Other Game Geekery

Wow, everyone.

Yesterday was the best fundraising day we’ve ever had. Ever. Last year, our best day raised about $93,000. Yesterday, we raised more than $200,000. Then our $100,000 of matching was added on the livestream late last night, and we watched our overall fundraiser total cross $800,000. (It’s currently at $832,000.)

This means we put more than $300,000 towards Heifer’s offer of matching funds. As a result, more than $600,000 will be going to help projects in Haiti.

That’s just from yesterday.

And we still have 13 days left of this fundraiser, folks. I’m excited to see how far we can go.

* * *

Today’s blog is jam-packed with gaming stuff from a bunch of places. Let’s get right into it.

Games from Cheapass Games

James Ernest stomped right out to help this year, and he donated well over 150 games. Amanda’s always said that any game put out by Cheapass is one that’s worth playing, even if you’ve never heard of it before. They work hard to put out quality games that are fun to play no matter what kind of game you’re into.

Here’s what’s up for grabs:

  • 19 Super-Extra-Serious-Deluxe versions of Stuff and Nonsense.


Rachel says this is a really fun game, especially for those who like to spout nonsense or wax poetic. James really went the extra mile with these. It was already the Deluxe version of Stuff and Nonsense, and he took the time to repack each one to include all of the bonus goodies they made for the game: the custom meeple set, the custom die, the pack of 12 extra cards, the collector coin, the travel stickers and the postcard of Professor Elemental.

Pretty much all of this bonus stuff is impossible to get any more, so if you win one of these, you’re ending up with a real rarity.

And they’re all going into the prize lottery.

  • 23 copies each of 5 different versions of Lord of the Fries.


There are a lot of versions of Lord of the Fries, the Zombie Cooking game. There’s the Superdeluxe edition of the core game, and 4 different stand-alone expansion decks. You can play any of them individually, or combine them all into one giant game.

Since they can be stand-alone, that means 115 prizes are going into the lottery here. You’ve got a lot of chances to win something really cool from Cheapass Games.

  • Barmaids Pairs Decks, signed by James Ernest and Echo Chernik.


We put a few of these up in the store last week, but we held on to some of them for the fundraiser. We’re putting four into the lottery for anyone to win, but one is going up for auction.

So if you’d like one of these lovely pairs decks signed by the artist (Echo Chernik) and Designer James Earnest, you can bid on it right here.

  • Auction: One Bigass Cheapass Games Bundle.


This bundle has one of the Super-Extra-Serious-Deluxe versions of Stuff and Nonsense, plus one of each of the Lord of the Fries decks. Again, a bunch of the bonus stuff in Stuff and Nonsense is something you just can’t get anymore, so enjoy your awesome, limited edition goodies.

You can bid on this awesome bundle right here.

Boss Monster

The guys over at Brotherwise Games have always been really good to us. After all, they made and donated the Quothe the Ladykiller card, as well as the Bast and Bastas cards, just for Worldbuilders.

And now they’ve passed along something really special.

  • Limited Edition copies of Boss Monster 2. Signed by creators Johnny and Chris O’Neal.


These are the limited edition versions of Boss Monster, and come with bonus holofoil versions of the 14 bosses, and an alternate-art Epic Hero to boot.

We have 4 signed copies of this game total, so we’ve put 3 in the lottery and one up for auction for you collectors out there. Bid here to your heart’s content.

Other Cool Gaming Geekery

These are some seriously cool items that we wanted to add, and we figured there was no better way than to show them off with some of our other games.

  • 3 Chainmail Dice Bags


These were donated by a fan who makes handmade chainmail items, and we figured any gamer would be happy to get a sweet dice bag.

  • D20 Keychains and D20 Bookmarks.


These are all going in with other games as prizes, just to spice things up a bit. That means that they won’t be added as individual prizes, but instead will be add-ons to other prizes. Prizes plus, if you will.

The keychains and bookmarks were made by a lovely volunteer named Meghan, and she donated a bunch of them to the fundraiser.

  • Auction: Rare, Limited Edition copy of The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen book. Personalized to you by creator James Wallis.


This is a true rarity. If you’ve never played this game before, you really should. We played it at NerdCon, and you can see it in all of its two-hour-long glory in this playlist on YouTube.

James Wallis, the creator of The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, donated one of the very limited edition books to the fundraiser. What’s more, he has graciously offered to give the book a personalized Munchausen dedication.

When we asked him to explain what that meant, he said:

“A Munchausen dedication usually runs over both sets of endpapers and sometimes further than that, as the Baron reminisces on the times he has spent with the recipient, the duels they have fought, and why one of them owes the other money.”

There is very little that could be so cool as this. You can bid on it right here.

  • Auction: 2 seats for King of Tokyo with Pat Rothfuss GenCon 2016.


Earlier this year, we auctioned off a seat to play King of Tokyo with me in Indianapolis during GenCon. The good news is, it takes more than 2 people to play King of Tokyo.

I’m going to invite some of my friends to play, but in the mean time we’re holding an auction for 2 seats at the table. Let’s rock this. Bid here.

  • Auctions: Play a game of True Dungeon at GenCon 2016.


I haven’t been shy about the fact that I love playing True Dungeon. And the folks at True Dungeon are particularly cool, and donated a game for Worldbuliders to auction off.

True Dungeon is a fantastic game. As you can see from the above photo, it was thoroughly puzzling the year I played with Wil Wheaton. There are lots of rooms with puzzles, monsters, and obstacles that you need to solve, kill, and/or traverse, however you like it. Honestly, True Dungeon is one of my favorite parts about GenCon, and I’m looking forward to getting some friends together for another game.

There are two auctions here, each for one seat of the True Dungeon game. That means, if you and your best friend both want to play, you have to bid on *both* of the auctions.

So: Here’s one seat. And here’s the other. Bid as much as you’re willing, and have fun.

And finally, Ladies, Gentlemen, and others, I offer you the Tableflip.

  • Tableflip


At Gen Con this year I had dinner with Max Temkin and Paul Peterson (designer of Smash Up.)  Paul had invented a lovely little toy that delighted everyone at the table.

It’s a tiny papercraft table. You punch out the table and all the tiny accouterments on the sheet, put them together, set the table as nicely as you dream… and flip it.

(Like so.)

This cool, limited edition of the tableflip even has a little Name of the Wind you can put on your table. We’re adding 400 of them to the lottery, where they will be paired up with other games. So if you end up getting your ass beat at Lord of the Fries, you can vent your frustration in a socially acceptable way.

If you don’t want to trust to luck, you can buy one for super cheap over here. And, as you might have guessed, all the proceeds from that go to Worldbuilders.

* * *

I’ve you’d like to see *everything* we’re currently auctioning off, you can head over here and even get a look at the stuff we haven’t officially announced yet.

Or you can straight up donate to the cause, knowing that for every 10 bucks you kick in, you get one entry into the lottery, getting you the chance to win all manner of cool books and games.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat7 Responses

A Story about My Mom, Haiti, and Irresistible Math

As I write this blog, Worldbuilders has raised nearly $516,000.

That was going to be my big announcement today, that we broke half a million dollars.

But it turns out I actually have a much bigger piece of news to share.

Today, Heifer International is running a special event in conjunction with Giving Tuesday. For one day, all donations made to Heifer will be matched and put toward their work in Haiti.

There’s two reasons that this is a big deal for me.

The first reason has to do with my mom. I don’t talk about her a lot on the blog, though I think of her constantly.

Marge and Patrick at Beach 1-1

(Here she is. With her little boy, long ago.)

You see, years and years ago, my mom went to Haiti.

It’s a long story, but the nutshell version is that she moved down to Haiti for two weeks to help run an orphanage in Port au Prince. This orphanage took care of babies that people abandoned at hospitals, usually because the babies were really sick, or they had permanently debilitating medical conditions. The parents left the children because they were desperately poor, and had no way to pay for their care.

Marge 1 068 (2) - Copy

But the hospitals couldn’t afford to care for the kids, either. Because the government in Haiti doesn’t pay for that. And the orphanage wasn’t in the nice part of town, so the government wasn’t giving them any money either. As a result, this wasn’t one of those posh orphanages like in Annie. They didn’t have beds for the kids, for one thing. But that doesn’t even begin to paint the picture for you. Huge swaths of Port au Prince don’t have any infrastructure at all, so the orphanage didn’t have luxuries like, say, running water.

Imagine that. Imagine taking care of these poor disabled babies and not having any running water. And I don’t mean that they couldn’t take showers regularly. I mean nothing came out of the faucets. They got water out of a cistern that was open to the air. They hoped for rain to re-fill it, and they had to boil every drop they drank and cooked with.

As a result, my mom came back from Haiti with a parasitic infection that took her years of serious medicine to get rid of.

She also came back with stories.

Marge in Haiti

I could tell you a lot of stories about the time my mother spent there. But the truth is, if you’ve read my books, you already know some of them. When she was there, my mom met an old barefoot man who took care of orphan boys with physical and developmental problems. A lot of times the boys were dangerous to themselves or others.

I saw a picture of him once. My mom said he was barefoot all the time, and she suspected he might have been a Trappist monk at some point in his life.

Sound familiar?

The stories my mom brought back from Haiti gave me my first glimmering realization that not everyone’s life was like mine. Not everyone could microwave a burrito when they got hungry. Not everyone had clean water to drink. There was an entirely different world out there where people were so poor, they had to abandon their babies if they were born sick.

So. That’s the first part of the reason I’m excited about Heifer matching donations today and all the proceeds are going to projects in Haiti. Because the roots of Worldbuilders go all the way back to my mom’s experiences there. The stories she told me.

The second reason I’m excited is when we caught wind of Heifer’s event last night, we gave them a call and did our very best fast-talking. And because Heifer is full of cool people, they’ve agreed to let our fundraiser take part in their event.

This means, that for the entire day, every dollar you donate on the Worldbuilders team page will be matched. (And you’ll be entered in our prize lottery.)

This is great news for us. Huge news. And I can’t thank Heifer enough for being willing to work with us on such short notice to make this happen.

But even so, something hasn’t been sitting right with me. I’ve been up all night rolling this around in my head. I’ve been looking through old pictures and thinking about my mom.

Marge 1 001 (3) - Copy

If my mom was still around, she would be moving heaven and earth today for this fundraiser. She’s be baking cookies and making quilts and talking to people at church. She would be filming goofy stretch goals and helping us package up orders in Tinker’s Packs.

And she’d do more than that. She’d put her money where her mouth was.

But here’s the thing. At the start of this year’s fundraiser, I’d decided that I wasn’t going to donate any more money to Worldbuilders. I’d talked myself out of it. I’d already given a bunch of money to charity this year, (Syrian Refugees, First Book, etc.) I’d done my part. I was going to be done.

And besides, I’ve kinda been saving up to build a house out in the country.

And besides, I already give a bunch of my time and energy to the fundraiser, right?

And then I think about my mom. And I think about kids in Haiti.

So here’s what we’re going to do.

If you donate to Worldbuilders today. I’m going to match your donation. Then we’re going to take ALL that money to Heifer and they’ll match both of us. So if you chip in today, your donation will be doubled, then doubled again.

I’ll match up to 100,000 dollars. I’ll let you do the math on that.

Come on, folks. Let’s be awesome together.

Here’s your link.

[Edit: Hey guys, Amanda here! I’ll be in the comments answering questions all day, and we’ve had a fair number come in already, but you can always email us at questions [@] as well]

Also posted in babies, mom | By Pat68 Responses

Stardust ARC: Many Happy Returns

Today I’d like to tell you a story about a book. Some of you might not have met it before. But to many of us here at Worldbuilders, it is an old, familiar friend….

It’s a book that has been with the fundraiser since the beginning….

2008: A Gift from Gaiman.

In 2008 I’d only been published for a year when, on a whim, I decided to try raising money for Heifer International on my blog. Things quickly spiraled out of control as other authors pitched in, helping spread the word and donating books for us to give away.

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

Unfortunately, mail was delayed because of the holidays, so we couldn’t use the book until….

2009: Stardust for the People.

It was the second year of the fundraiser, and I had this book. This beautiful book. This beautiful, *rare* book. I was still doing the fundraiser pretty much by myself then, and I was having a really hard time deciding how best to use it.

I knew we could auction it off and raise at least a thousand dollars, maybe even a couple thousand, but that didn’t seem right somehow.

So I decided to put it into the lottery, where anyone who donated at least 10 bucks to Heifer International on our team page would have a chance of winning it. That seemed fair to me, more egalitarian.

Then something strange happened: the person who won the book gave it back to us. Their one stipulation is that we auction it off next year, so it would raise more money for Heifer. So….

2010: Stardust on the Auction Block.

Year 3 of Worlbuilders, we auctioned off all manner of things. And, as the previous winner requested, we put Gaiman’s Stardust ARC up on eBay too.

After some fierce bidding it sold for over $2500 to a lovely guy named Dan. There were many high-fives in Worldbuilders central. We were sad to see the book go, but $2500 bucks buys a lot of goats.

But when I e-mailed Dan to arrange shipping, he said he wanted to donate the book back to Worldbuilders.

I asked Dan if he was sure. He said he was sure. I asked Dan how he got to be so cool, and he said he was inspired by the story of how last year’s winner re-donated the book.

But most of the credit, he said, should go to his mom. She always made a point of donating to charity even though she never had a lot of money. Not only that, but she was a dyed-in-the-wool geek like the rest of us: she read fantasy and sci-fi, she played Infocom games…

From everything I’ve heard, she sounds like my kind of lady.

Dan told me she had passed away recently, and most of the money he inherited from her went into buying this book. He thinks she would be proud and happy to know that the money will go to helping as many people as possible through Heifer.

His only stipulation was that we put the book back into the lottery next year, so anyone could win it….

2011: Stardust Full Circle.

Year Four of Worldbuilders, we put the ARC back into the lottery with much cheering. After picking the prizes, I called the winner, Maayan, to set up shipping (because you don’t want something like this to show up as a surprise on someone’s doorstep).

Maayan tells me no.  She wants it back in the fundraiser. It’s sort of a thing now.

Stardust (3)

I thanked her kindly, and sent along a box of books as as “Thanks for being cool” present.

Then something weird happened….

2012: Stardust as Statistical Anomaly.

In 2012, we put Stardust back in the lottery again. Mostly because I like the idea of this amazingly cool prize being something anyone can win.

At the end of the fundraiser, we pick the prizes and when I’m told who the winner is, I give the assistant holding the papers with grim, fatherly disapproval, telling them in the gentlest of terms that they’ve fucked up and are obviously using last year’s spreadsheets.

This is bizarre math, people. This is like Heart-of-Gold level improbability. Maayan had won again.

I called her. She was shocked, amused, and flustered. So we sent her the book.

And she sent us back a picture.


Here’s what she had to say:

I was really extremely surprised to win the Stardust ARC two years ago, because I don’t think I’ve ever won any kind of online contest before. I was actually sitting in a hot tub on a ski trip to Colorado when Pat called, and my friends got to watch me make the craziest faces while on the phone. A few weeks later, Neil Gaiman sent me a little card with a picture he had drawn in it, which was so nice of him.

When Pat called me this year to say that I had won again, I’m pretty sure my first words were, “No, I did not!” Surprised doesn’t begin to describe it. If I win again this year, I’m going to start to be suspicious of your randomization algorithm.

Worldbuilders is such a great fundraiser, and Heifer International is an outstanding organization. I’m thrilled to take part. Thank you to Pat Rothfuss for putting it together, and thank you to all of the authors and artists who donate the prizes! I’ve enjoyed reading the fruits of your generosity.

Then Maayan sent it back to us again.

Thanks so much, Maayan. We’re glad you at least got to touch the book that seemed so desperate to meet you.

2013: Stardust In the Lottery Again.

Year six of Worldbuilders, Stardust chose a new person to love. It chose Jennifer.

She was overjoyed, happy to have won it, and just as happy to return it.

That was the year we had a cool idea – we instituted a Library Card system for the Stardust ARC.


When I was a kid, every library book had one of these. Even now, all these years later, seeing one fills me with a strange joy.

Neil graciously agreed to sign the cards for us.


What’s more, we had all the previous winners sign the cards and pass them on after keeping one for themselves of course (Maayan got to keep two).


This way, if the winner chooses to return the book, they still get a memento of the experience: signed by all the people who have loved the book before them as well as the original donor, Neil Gaiman.

2014: Stardust Makes a New Friend

Last year, we drew Jeff’s name as the winner of the Stardust ARC. He donated it back again, and we sent him much love in return as well as his own signed Library Card.

Jef Neil Geiman

He’s the 5th person to sign them for us since Neil. And it’s a beautiful thing.

This year’s winner will get their very own library card signed by Neil Gaiman and the other winners.

So, without further ado allow me to add today’s book to the lottery.

  • A numbered, ARC of Stardust in its own slipcase. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

Stardust (6)

Not much remains to be said here. It’s a beautiful book with its own slipcase. Numbered 28 out of 250. Signed by Gaiman.

If you donate to Heifer International on the Worldbuilders team page, you have a chance of winning not only this book, but hundreds upon hundreds of other books and game donated by authors, publishers, collectors and fans.

Every $10 you donate gets you a chance to win. So if you donate enough for honeybees ($30) you get three chances to win. Donate enough for a goat along with the training and materials to care for it ($120) and you get twelve chances to win. Donate enough to provide clean water for a village ($300) you get 30 chances to win.

As an added bonus, all donations will get us closer to Neil Gaiman’s $550,000 stretch goal of singing “Gorn Dahn the Plug’ole” to his baby.

So. If you’d like to be part of a fine tradition of people being awesome, winning books, and making the world a better place, you can head over and donate right now.

* * *

In other news, if you’re in a Cyber Monday sort of mood, we’re currently having a sale in the Tinker’s Packs (All proceeds from that go to Worldbuilders as well.)

Also, we’re launching a new event tonight. The subreddit r/Fantasy is having Worldbuilders Week, where 36 different authors who have worked with us over the years are doing AMAs every night. It will be a good time. You should stop by….

Also posted in Stardust ARC | By Pat17 Responses
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