Category Archives: Worldbuilders 2017

The story of a beloved book…

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, 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, spreading the word and donating books for me to use as donation incentives.

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.

So the second year of the fundraiser rolled around, 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, 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 Worldbuilders, 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 told me 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.

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 a look loaded with grim, fatherly disapproval, telling them in the gentlest of terms that they’ve fucked up and are obviously using last year’s spreadsheets.

She assures me that isn’t the case. She shows me the sheets, and the ticket numbers.

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

In 2014 Jeff’s name was drawn 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.

The more we do this library card thing, the more I love it.

2015: Stardust Returns Again

In 2015, Stardust went to a wonderful supporter named Don.

It was the first year Amanda called the winner. She had a great conversation with him, he told us to keep it, and we sent him a box of goodies and his library card as a sign of what he won. He has his library card, and we still have a beautiful, signed Stardust ARC.

2016: Stardust ALMOST goes to France

Last year, our winner was a lovely guy named Lucas. He lives in France, and had a lovely phone call and email exchange with the Worldbuilders team, and they sent him a box full of books, including the French editions of a couple of books from The Tinker’s Packs.

He has his library card, and we still have a beautiful, signed Stardust ARC.

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 the fundraiser you have a chance of winning not only this book, but also thousands of other books and games 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.

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.

Also posted in Stardust ARC | By Pat9 Responses

Immortalization & Manuscript Critiques

As I write this, the Worldbuilders fundraiser is at $82,000 dollars. That can buy a lot of families a lot of goats, or chickens, or even cows….

But sometimes what people need isn’t materials. One of the other essential things Heifer provides is straight-up training and education. Specifically, sustainable agriculture training of the sort they gave to people like Lotale Chatayika.

Lotale is the sole breadwinner for his household (Which consists of his parents, wife, brother, and two sisters). He has worked hard for many years on his farm, but wasn’t able to produce enough food to feed his family. Because of this, he’s forced to find other temporary labor work (which is notoriously inconsistent and low paying) in order to afford enough food for everyone.

But in 2015, he was selected to participate in the Sustainable Agriculture Lead Farmer Programme with Heifer. They trained him in sustainable agriculture technologies like pit planting, fertilization techniques, and mixed cropping. (Pit planting is making pits on your plot for water to collect and be retained, as well as to reduce erosion.)

After his training, Lotale made 1560 pits on his quarter-acre plot. He added compost and manure to his maize and soya fields for fertility.

Before joining Heifer and receiving training, Lotale was able to produce 50 pounds of maize in a season. Now the same plot yields more than 880 pounds of maize a season. A 1600% increase. Enough so that he can feed his family with plenty left over to sell.

Heifer estimates that training of the sort that Lotale recieved costs about $72. (Bountiful Harvest Training) Since y’all have already donated over $82,000 that means they now have the resources to train over 1,100 people like Lotale. Changing their lives and the lives of their families. Forever.

And we’re only 5 days into the fundraiser….


Today’s blog continues two of my favorite Worldbuilders traditions, professional critiques of manuscripts and people getting to make guest appearances in upcoming books.

Let’s jump right in.

  • Manuscript Critiques

This is something I would’ve killed for when I was first sending the book off to publishers. The opportunity to have your manuscript read by a skilled editor, agent, or author is huge. It doesn’t just have an impact on your book, this sort of feedback can help you develop your craft as well.

We always put a bunch of these up for auction, and this year is no exception.

But even better, this year we have critiques available in the lottery, too. Back when I was in college I couldn’t have afforded an expensive auction. So now I’m delighted to give unpublished writers a chance to win a professional critique by donating to the Professional Manuscript Critiques team page.

For every $10 you donate, you’ll get the chance to win a critique, as well as all the other goodies in our prize lottery.

So, if you want to jump in on that option in the lottery, donate right here. If you’d like to be a little more certain that you’ll get a critique, then this next section is for you. We have THIRTEEN different critiques going up in the auction.

A NOTE BEFORE YOU DIVE IN: We’ve made each critique expandable here, so if you’re interested in one, you can click on it to expand out more information. PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION CAREFULLY.

Everyone is offering something a little different. Each author, editor, or agent is handling their auction in their own way…

  • Everyone has different skills, and they’re each offering something different.
  • Critiques are for different lengths of manuscript. From 7,000 to 150,000 words.
  • The professionals below are busy people. Critiques will have to fit in their schedules.
  • When auctions mention “X pages” of a manuscript, that’s standard manuscript format.
  • Most importantly, it’s important to realize that what you’re getting here is a critique. You’re not buying an introduction to someone’s agent or editor. You’re not winning representation with an agent. Or a foot in the door with an editor. That’s not what’s on the block. You’re getting writing advice from a professional.

Okay. Enough preamble. Let’s get to the auctions.

Professor Eric Dahl: A Real-Life Physicist will review your worldbuilding for consistency and realism.

Whether you just want to do away with the pesky speed-of-light limit or are inventing an entirely new reality, there are some ways to do physics that just feel more real than others.  This auction gets you one physics professor’s critique of your world building — what laws are broken, what is or is not consistent, and what crazy inventions your ever-attentive readers might create for your universe….

The winner should submit no more than 7k words describing their world (plus figures if you’d like). Eric will give feedback on this submission.

This is such a weird and cool opportunity to make sure the worldbuilding and magic system in your series FEELS real. If you want to bid on it, click here.


Laura Anne Gilman: Publishing Industry and writing talk with a veteran editor and author.

Laura Anne Gilman was excited to provide something for our critique this year, but wasn’t sure she could commit to a full manuscript critique. Instead, she’s offered up a 30-45 minute Skype call where she’d discuss anything publishing-related you’d like. It could be plot ideas, career worries, or anything else.

Laura worked as an editor for over  15 years, and has published more than twenty novels, so she clearly knows her stuff. If you have burning questions, or need plot advice, you can bid on this auction here.


Holly Black: 1-hour plot brainstorming session with Holly based on up to 10,000 words of story material.

Holly has offered up something truly awesome here. Before you get too deep into writing, Holly is offering to spend an hour on the phone (or Skype) plotting/brainstorming with you, based on 10,000 words of story material you send to her whether it be outline, chapters, or anything else.

On the phone, she’ll help you try to figure out what you’re stuck on, and where you can go with the story overall.

If this sounds perfect for you, you can bid on it right here.



Jennifer Azantian: Critique and commentary of your entire submission packet.

Jennifer Azantian is offering a detailed critique and commentary of your submission packet (query, synopsis, and first three chapters up to 15,000 words). She’ll include her thoughts on pacing, impact, characterization, world-building, and more with in-line notes and an editorial letter within three months of receiving your submission. Though she makes no promises, she would be a fool not to consider representing a project if it truly blows her away.

Critiques of submission packets are key to getting your work picked up by agents and publishers. If you’re ready for that step, bid on the auction here.


Brad Beaulieu: Critique of up to 12,500 words of your story.

Bradley P. Beaulieu is pleased to offer one story or chapter critique of up to 12,500 words. Brad will draft a formal review that will cover such things as how well the story opens, complicates, and closes, how well the characterization works, dialogue, tone, pacing, tension, and a host of other issues. Essentially, he’ll provide a formal review on the positives and negatives found in the story.

If this sounds good to you, you can read more about Brad and bid right here.


Jeffe Kennedy: First chapter and synopsis critique.

A first chapter & synopsis critique, along with genre analysis – particularly apropos for anyone writing in romance/romantic elements crossover novels in SFF.

She is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

If you want to get your synopsis critiqued by an award-winning author, you can bid here.


Joe Ducie: Critique of up to 100,000 words of any manuscript.

Joe Ducie will critique up to 100,000 words of any manuscript, with an eye toward YA, Urban Fantasy, or Spy/Thriller. If you’ve read his The Rig or Reminiscent Exile series, you know what you’re getting into. He’s got a knack for writing books that read like an action scene. If you’re writing a thriller or other lean, fast-paced fantasy, Joe’s opinion will help quite a bit!

Joe was kind enough to offer us TWO critiques, so one is up for auction right here, while the other is in the lottery on the Professional Manuscript Critiques team page!


Sherwood Smith: Critique of up to 150,000 words of your fantasy manuscript.

Sherwood Smith is the author of the Inda series, the Crown & Court series, and co-author with Rachel Manija Brown of the brilliant YA series Change. She will read your fantasy manuscript, up to 150,000 words, and critique it, giving you her opinions on everything from character and pacing to plot and more. She’s a brilliant writer who creates memorable characters and intricate worlds. She’s also been workshopping for years, and teaching at the Viable Paradise science fiction and fantasy writers’ workshop.

Thisa is an amazing opportunity you won’t want to miss, so if it’s at all tempting to you bid here.


Joshua Palmatier: Critique of up to 7,500 words of your short story.

Joshua Palmatier (co-­editor of the DAW Books anthologies AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR­BAR and THE MODERN FAE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY and the Zombies Need Brains anthologies CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS, TEMPORALLY OUT OF ORDER, ALIEN ARTIFACTS, WERE-, ALL HAIL OUR ROBOT CONQUERORS, and SUBMERGED) will read and evaluate your short story (up to 7500 words in standard manuscript format) within six weeks of submission. He will write a general evaluation of the story and mark up the manuscript using comments and track changes in the document itself, although this will NOT be a formal line or copy edit, simply commentary at specific points in the short story.

It’s hard to find people with so much experience with short stories, so if you have one you’d like critiqued you should bid here.


Jaime Lee Moyer: Read and Critique of the first 75 pages of your manuscript.

Jaime Lee Moyer has offered many critiques over the years, and we’re always grateful. This year’s critique is for the first 75 pages (double spaced) of your manuscript, where she’s comment on plot, character arc, voice, pacing, and other overall, general impressions of the story.

PLEASE NOTE: Jaime has a very tight schedule this year, so she’s requested that the winner be ready to send the manuscript to her within four months of auction end (by March 2018 at the absolute latest). So this is for someone who’s ready to hand over their manuscript soon.

If that someone is you, head over here and bid.


Richard Shealy: A Professional copyedit of your fantasy or science fiction manuscript.

Richard is offering a copyedit of novel-length manuscript (or short story and its pitch). Includes typo correction, continuity observation, voice/character consistency, context-appropriate grammar adjustment, fact-checking where needed. This copyedit will be completed sometime in 2018, since Richard is a pro and booked solid for the remainder of 2017.

For a list of works he has copyedited, visit and scroll down until you see the wall of cover images!

A copy edit is a really big deal, and honestly something that most people don’t think about. Most authors don’t get this chance until their book has already sold, but it makes a huge difference in the readability of a manuscript. If you’re ready to take this on, you can bid right here.


Seth Fishman: Critique of up to 25,000 words of a sci-fi/fantasy novel.

Seth is a literary agent who has worked with Worldbuilders before to bring folks critiques, and he’s also done two different livestreamed Q&As about the industry as part of previous fundraisers. He did one on how to write an effective query letter (with one of his clients, Django Wexler) that you can watch right here, and one on the publishing industry as a whole from his perspective as an agent, which you can watch here.

Needless to say, he knows his stuff. If you want his advice on your novel, you can bid here.


Patrick Rothfuss (me): Critique of the first 20,000 words of your manuscript.

Patrick Rothfuss (international bestselling author, lover of women, and hirsute iconoclast) will read the beginning of your manuscript and give you critical feedback. (Up to, say, 20,000 words.) We’ll schedule this based on when your manuscript will be ready and the endless madness of my own schedular constraints.

I’ll read through your manuscript, scrawling notes and dirty words in the margins, then I’ll call you on the phone and we can discuss it.

If you want this, you should bid on it quickly. My schedule has become such that I really had to fight my team so that they’d let me do this.

You can Bid right here.


That’s all of the critiques for this year, but don’t forget that we have a few more up in the lottery on the Professional Manuscript Critiques team page.

Maybe you could bid on your favorite option (or options) and then if you don’t manage to win on Sunday night, you put the money you were willing to spend on it into the team page. After all, all of the money will be going to Heifer International, and they can do a lot of good with it.

But maybe you don’t have a manuscript. Maybe a tuckerization is more your speed…

  • Tuckerizations

What is a Tuckerization, you may ask? Well, it means different things to different people. Historically, it’s called a Tuckerization because Wilson Tucker used so many of his friends’ names as characters in his stories that it became something of an in-joke. Nowadays, it’s the chance to make a cameo appearance in a story. An author will take your name, or maybe your personality, or your physical description, and use it for a character in their story.

Maybe it’s not your name. Maybe it’s a sister’s, or a friend’s, or that kid you spent a lot of time with in kindergarten before he moved away. Maybe you only *start* with your name, but the author changes it a bit to fit in with the culture of the world you’re being put into. If that happens, you collaborate with the author and reach a solution you both like.

Whatever the case, it’s a chance to be a part of something really cool. It’s a chance, in some ways, at literary immortality.

We have NINE tuckerizations available below for auction, but they’re all a little different, so read carefully.

Brian McLellan will include you in a POWDER MAGE Novel, and maybe even kill you.

Brian McLellan has offered up the opportunity to be a minor character in a new POWDER MAGE novel, his awesome fantasy series. Brian’s a fantastic author, and a generally great guy to begin with, so working with him on this will be a dream.

He’ll work with you to make sure the name fits well in the world, and says that “violent death is optional.”

Fans of the series, or those who are eager for the option of violent death, can head over here and bid.


Elizabeth Bear: Get tuckerized into a galactic medical rescue novel + a signed first edition of the book.

Elizabeth Bear is working on a new novel called Machine, a space opera about medical rescue and a galactic hospital, and she’s offering up the chance to tuckerize a Worldbuilders supporter in it. To make things even cooler, she’s included a signed, first edition copy of the book to be sent to you upon release, so you’ll have a collectible to brag about to your friends, in addition to naming a character.

A signed first edition might be enough on its own for some people, so if you want to get your hands on this you’ll have to bid over here.


William Alexander will include you in a road trip novel that brushes up against The Wild Hunt and more.


William Alexander has been supporting Worldbuilders for a while now, including a give a spirited, Kermit-voice performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream last year. This year he jumped in with an opportunity to appear in the next novel he’s writing.

His current work in progress is a road trip novel featuring the Wild Hunt, the trolls of Vermont, and your name. Maybe.

Bid now for the chance.


Joe Ducie will tuckerize you in a spy-thriller novel.

Some of you may remember Joe Ducie from the before-times. He’s our very own Captain Joe, winner of a previous photo contest and all-around awesome person.  Since his first claim-to-fame here on the blog, his YA novel won the 2012 Young Writers Prize, and Joe’s been writing ever since.

Joe Ducie was kind enough to offer us TWO opportunities for fans to be included in his upcoming work! This auction is for an appearance in his upcoming spy-thriller titled THE DARK WINTER. The winner would be on a team of spies/soldiers off to save the world. It’s due to be published around this time next year, and you’ll have the chance to chat with Joe about which member of the team best fits you (or a loved one) and he’ll make sure that character does you proud.

If you’ve always wanted to be a spy, you can bid for the chance hereyes.


Joe Ducie (AGAIN) will tuckerize you in his YA time-loop novel.

Joe’s second offering for a tuckerization is in his upcoming urban fantasy novel, THE ONLY REAL PLACE, a YA story featuring an intense time-loop situation.

The novel is still in very early drafts, so there’s going to be a lot of flexibility to the character you’ll be. You will have the chance to chat with Joe about the best way to include you (or a loved one) as a cameo in his book.

You can bid on this one right here.


April White will include your character in her new Sherlockian mystery time-travel series.

This isn’t the first time April White has offered a tuckerization, and we’re always so grateful for her offer.

April is offering the chance to name a character (and provide an identifying characteristic or two) in book two of her new fantasy series. In the event the winning bid is higher than $250, that character will have a significant interaction with Ringo, the main character. If it goes higher than $400, that character will become a major contributor to the story.

To read more about the series, and to bid, head over to the auction and read up!


Tim Pratt will name a character in his upcoming space opera after you.

Tim Pratt’s novel The Dreaming Stars will be coming out around this time next year, and he’s offering up the chance to be a part of it by naming a character after yourself or a loved one. Space opera means that there’s going to be tons of options for him to make your character fun or interesting, so this is an awesome opportunity.

Plus, last time he let someone name a whorehouse in his books. So Tim’s a pretty cool dude.

If you want to be in a space opera, bid here.


Jeffe Kennedy will tuckerize you in the first novel of her new fantasy romance trilogy.

Jeffe Kennedy’s novel The Orchid Throne will be released in 2019, and she’s offering you the chance to name a character in it, at the beginning of a new trilogy.

It’s going to be a great series, and you can bid on the chance to be a part of it right here.


Bradley P. Beaulieu will incude you in his brand new epic fantasy series, and the more we raise the cooler you'll be.

Brad is a Wisconsin native, and longtime supporter of Worldbuilders. He’s offering up the chance to be in the fourth novel of his Arabian Nights-inspired epic fantasy series, THE SONG OF THE SHATTERED SANDS. He’ll work with you to make sure the name you provide can be tweaked and adjusted to fit into the world seamlessly.

As a bonus, the more money the auction raises, the more important your character will be to the overall plot. The series will have SIX books in it, so your character may very will live beyond the pages of the fourth.

If the auction raises $500 or more, the character will be elevated from a minor character to one that has a real interaction with one of the main characters, and Brad will work with you to adopt some specific personal characteristics to the character. If it raises $1,000 or more, your character can either die in a spectacular way or perform some other heroic, selfless act.

There’s a ton being offered here, and you can bid for the chance to make it yours here.


All of the money from auctions also goes to Heifer, so bidding on and winning auctions will go to help people who need it, like Lotale and his family. And, as a reminder, there are critiques available in the lottery as well, as long as you donate on the Professional Manuscript Critiques team page, and every $10 donated there is another chance.

Auctions will be ending on Sunday nights, and the first round of auctions ends THIS Sunday for things like the Dresden Force Ring that Jim Butcher wore while writing Skin Game, or the limited-edition Caesura sword with a custom, one-of-a-kind scabbard, or one of every book published by Subterranean Press for 2017. To check them out, click on AUCTIONS below.

Happy bidding…

Also posted in a billion links, the business of writing, the craft of writing | By Pat4 Responses

Thousands of Books from John Scalzi

We’re just a couple days into the Worldbuilders Fundraiser, and things are off to a smashing start. We’re on the cusp of $50,000, which is pretty amazing given that I’ve been traveling without good internet connectivity, and therefore haven’t been able to do much promotion.

So let me say thank you all for helping out. Both in donating directly and in spreading the word.

You see, $50,000 is enough for Heifer International to provide education and materials so that over 2500 families can get flocks of chickens. That might not seem like a big deal at first glance, it really is. Chickens lay about 200 eggs a year, and they’re full of nutrients and protein that are vital to growing children. Those eggs can provide extra income for a family selling eggs. Or they can hatch the eggs and grow their flocks.

Giving a flock of chickens to a family means they suddenly have control over their own food production, their own economic stability… over their futures as a whole.

(Chickens. They’re a big deal.)

So. Yeah. Thanks to everyone who has donated and spread the word, we’ve changed 2,500 lives. Forever. And it’s only Wednesday.

I’m thinking this is going to be a good year….

*     *    *

So today, we’re giving away a couple thousand books to people who donate to our yearly fundraiser.

That by itself is nothing new. Every year we give away books donated by publishers and authors. But these books are a little different than anything we’ve dealt with before….

You see, a couple of years ago, John Scalzi and I were hanging out at GenCon when he asked if my crew had driven down with all the stuff we were selling at our booth (the Tinker’s Packs.)

They did drive, I told him. Why did he want to know?

“I’ve got a donation I’d like to make to Worldbuilders, but shipping would be… prohibitive,” he says to me.

See, John has been a book reviewer and literary journalist for many, many years. Because of that, lots of folks send him copies of their books with the hope that he’ll take the time to read and review it. Publishers send him advance copies of upcoming books, first edition hardcovers, or re-releases, for the same reason.

Those of you who read his blog or follow him on Twitter have probably seen evidence of this. He regularly posts a picture of the books that have arrived at his house, and it’s usually a fairly sizable stack.

So imagine books like this getting sent to your house every week. For months and month. For years and years and years….

So this year when they went down to Gencon, Amanda and Brett drove a little further, down to Scalzi’s place. Once there, it took them more than two hours to load tote after tote, box after box, and crate after crate of books into the truck.

There were hardcovers, paperbacks, ARCs, and printed manuscripts. There were books that were being reprinted, and books that hadn’t been released yet.

And this was AFTER John and his family had sifted through the books and kept many. But the fact of the matter is, John couldn’t possibly read every book that crosses his desk. He’d spend all his waking hours reading and reviewing books, with no time to spend with his family, or write his own books.

And these books were taking over his house. Almost the entire basement had been taken over, blocking walkways and covering all available surfaces.

But now those books are ours. Over 2,500 books are going into the lottery from John’s personal collection. That means for every $10 you donate, you get a chance to win these books and all the other prizes we’re putting into the lottery over the next couple weeks.

In addition to throwing those books individually into the fundraiser, the Worldbuilders Team has put together a sort of a ready-made library out of the books John donated.

I’d like to say it was a carefully curated collection around a theme, but the truth is, it’s just the books that everyone saw and either loved, coveted, or both.

Think of this as a little look into the Worldbuilders Crew’s collective soul.

I picked out some of my favorites…

And so did Rachel….

And Amanda…

And Maria…

Even Brett got in on the action…

All told it’s a prize worth well over $1,000, and it’s in the lottery for anyone to win by donating.

(the full collection)

There was, however, one special thing we wanted to put up for auction….

  • Auction: ARC of The Fractured Girl. Signed by Myke Cole. To be released in February 2018 as The Armored Saint.

We love Myke Cole. He recently coordinated with us to put up signed copies of his books in The Tinker’s Packs, and now you can get all of them while supporting Worldbuilders.

So when we saw this early copy of Fractured Girl (not out until February, under the title The Armored Saint) we had to put it up for auction. It’s too cool, and we’d love to give someone the chance to read it early.

You can bid on it over here.


Thanks for starting the fundraiser off with a bang, folks. I’ll be bringing you more coolness soon….

Posted in Worldbuilders 2017 | By Pat4 Responses

Subterranean Press & JoCo Cruise

As always, we’re launching out the fundraiser with some of our big guns: JoCo Cruise and Subterranean Press.

The first gives you the chance to win a cabin for 2 on the nerdiest cruise ever. The second sends us beautifully produced, sometimes limited, often rare copies of amazing books.

JoCo Cruise

Last year was the first year we put something like this into the fundraiser, and it was awesome.

  • A Cabin for two on the JoCo Cruise

I’ve talked about JoCo Cruise on the blog recently.

You can get the full scoop there. But in brief, let me say that JoCo cruise is one of my favorite parts of the year. I’ve made some of my best friends there. I snorkeled for the first time. I’ve learned about new music. Met cool comics writers, got to hang out with the folks who make Nightvale….

Also? I drank rum out of a Pinapple on a beach. Which is actually as much fun as it sounds.

It’s everything I love about a convention, except it’s better. And on a boat. Plus there are extra things… like for example… We put on an entire music festival in Loreto….

So it is with no small amount of delight that I announce that JoCo Cruise has donated a posh balcony cabin for two to Worldbuilders. We’re putting it in the lottery where anyone who donates at least $10 has a chance to win it.

You’ll still need to pay for your own flights to and from the cruise, but once you’re on the boat you’re pretty much golden. There’s free food and drinks (with some options you’d have to pay for), concerts, events, panels, and so, so much more all all included.

The JoCo Cruise folks made a handy-dandy list for us of everything this does and doesn’t include, but the big thing is that every $10 you donate gets you another chance to win this awesome trip.

Subterranean Press

Since the beginning, the folks at Subterranean Press have been huge supporters of Worldbuilders.

They’ve been in the business of producing beautiful, high-quality books for ages. They’ll bring old books out of print, and they’ll produce new books with awesome authors.

They always send us well over a hundred books, some of which are limited, numbered, and signed. They sent us over $7,000 worth of books to add to the lottery, and they’re all beautiful.

Let’s do it:

Subterranean Press always goes the extra mile to make truly beautiful books, so we love being able to show them off. They work hard to make their books incredibly high quality, and they don’t miss the mark.

There’s lots of novels going into the lottery, but there’s also the opportunity to get some really great collections of stories from authors. It’s the perfect way to read someone new and get a good sense of their writing style, plus it’s a prize for doing awesome in the world.

  • 25 Numbered, Signed copies each of River’s Edge by James P. Blaylock and Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers by Joe R. Lansdale. 24 Numbered, Signed copies of The Process (is a Process All Its Own) by Peter Straub.

Subterranean Press has truly beautiful limited editions of their books, and these three are no exception. All 74 of these books  have specially designed signature pages where you can also see the number of the book, and all 74 are in the lottery.

  • Auction: One of everything published in 2017 from Subterranean Press.

This has become my new favorite tradition. Subterranean takes the time every year to set aside one copy of each book they publish, then sends us one massive prize that we get to put up for auction.

All of these books had a fairly limited print run, and some are sold out. You can see the full list of everything included over in the auction listing, but the fact of the matter is it’s a lot of cool stuff.

If you want it all to be yours, head over there and bid.


Thank you for taking the time to come play with us. We’re so excited to do this, and we’re thankful to have such awesome supporters.

There’s so many places to check out if you’re curious about the campaign.

The first button is for the Hub Blog, where there’s links to every newly posted category of swag, the summary of how the lottery works, as well as any other information you may need about the fundraiser. It’s the perfect place to start.

The second button will take you to the Worldbuilders Website, where you can also find many relevant links, check out all of our sponsors, find our FAQ, and more.

The third button will take you where you need to get to DONATE as quickly as possible and participate in the lottery while making the world a better place.

The fourth button will take you to our eBay page, where you’ll be able to see everything that’s up for auction right now, including things we haven’t talked about yet…

The fifth button will take you to the Lottery Library, where you can see everything we’ve put up for grabs in the lottery. You can check things out based on donor, whether they’re signed, how limited they are, whether they’re books, games, comics, or jewelry, and more. It’s your one-stop-shop to see what’s available.

And there’s a lot available, folks.

Also posted in Subterranean Press | By PatLeave a comment

Worldbuilders 2017

Welcome to you, geeks of all creeds and nations. Welcome, my beloved, bookish brethren and sistren. Welcome, my lovely, empathetic, large-hearted people.

It’s time to make the world a better place. It’s time to fly our flags and engage in fabulous ballyhoo. It’s time to feed hungry children (while winning fabulous prizes.)

It’s time for the annual Worldbuilders fundraiser.


Over the years, people like you have helped Worldbuilders raise more than $7,000,000 to make the world a better place by partnering with charities such as Mercy Corps and First Book.

Our end-of-the-year fundraiser focuses on our favorite charity: Heifer International, an organization that gives people the training and tools to raise themselves out of poverty and starvation. For more than 60 years, Heifer has worked to improve education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry all over the world.

Don’t take my word for it though. Watch this instead. Seriously. It’s only a minute and a half.

This is what Heifer is all about. They don’t just poke food into hungry kids, they make it so families can control their own futures and take care of themselves. Heifer gives families chickens, and sheep so children have milk to drink, eggs to eat, and warm clothes to wear. They provide communities with clean water to drink, building materials to improve homes, and education that helps improve crop yields.

Heifer International helps people help themselves. It gives people the tools so that they can become self-sufficient. Forever.

If you want to be part of that, there are a few different ways you can contribute to the cause:

  • Option 1: The Lottery

This is the simplest option. Just head over to our fundraising page and donate.

When you donate on that page you’ll be entered into our prize lottery, which contains thousands of books, games, comics, and more.

For every $10 you donate on the fundraising page, your name will be entered into our random drawing. So if you donate $30 (enough for a flock of chickens) your name goes in three times. Donate enough for a goat ($120) and your name goes in 12 times. Enough to give clean water to a whole village ($300) you get 30 chances to win.

What’s in the lottery? A lot. So much that if I showed it to you all at once, the raw intensity of the aggregate awesome would cook your brain like a toad thrown into the sun.

So we’ve spread things out so that we can show them to you in all their glory without risking your precious brain. I’ll be posting up some of it here on my blog, but there will be content going up pretty much every weekday on the Worldbuilders website.

If you head over there, you can see *all* the geeky swag we’re giving away on our Lottery Library page. We’ll update it throughout the fundraiser as more donations come in….

You can also check out blogs full of prizes here:

In order to make sure everyone wins prizes they’ll love, when you make a donation, we let you pick what types of stuff you’d like to win…

As an added bonus, there are lots of sub-team pages you can donate to while still being part of the main fundraiser (and lottery).

There’s a team page for Professional Manuscript Critiques, which has a handful of fantastic authors and editors offering to critique your manuscript. If you donate on their page you’re eligible for the same lottery prizes as anyone else, PLUS those critiques.

There’s also The Fishery: Kingkiller Prizes where we have a whole pile of Kingkiller-specific prizes that people have made. There’s things like fan-made art, a beautiful Cthaeh quilt, some hand-made Tak sets, and a lot more… (If you have something Kingkiller you’d like to donate to this mini lottery, get in touch at donations (at) Again, donating to this team gets you entries to the regular lottery, plus this exclusive lottery of themed goodies.

There’s a bunch of other team pages too. Too many to list here, but if you’re curious you can go here and check them out.

You can also make a team page of your own if you want. Set your own goals. Invite your friends or family. Create your own rewards, or maybe just try to rally people in a fandom you’re fond of….

  • Option 2: Auctions

Sometimes we get donations that are cool…but only to a select group of people. Some people would squee with delight at winning a portal gun, but some people  just wouldn’t be into it.

(sad, unhappy people)

The same thing is true with action figures, musical instruments, manuscripts, collectibles. Signed art and rare books. Cameo appearances in books. Manuscript critiques….

When things like that get donated, we put them up for auction.

All our current auctions are over on the Worldbuilders eBay page. Keep an eye on it. We’ll be adding stuff all the time.

The funds raised through the auctions will be going to Heifer International too, so you’re still helping us have a huge impact on the lives of people who need it.

  • The Sure Thing (The Holiday Gift Option.)

For those of you who want to have an absolute sure thing, we have an online store.

We have geekery from my books, games, t-shirts, and tons of other stuff for your perusal. You won’t be entered in our prize lottery, but all the profits will go to Worldbuilders and help make the world a better place.

Fun and Games.

Every year, we also do some fun events for Worldbuilders. We will be posting up whimsical videos on our youtube channel as always, and organizing another video game tournament along the lines of last year’s Overwatch Tournament.

And, in following of the tradition of the last two years, I’ll be…

  • Streaming on Twitch

For the last couple of years I’ve been livestreaming on Twitch to raise awareness of the charity. In the past I’ve done Q&A sessions about the craft of writing or mental health. We’ve played board games, had sing-alongs and blanket forts.

I’ve also played games, obviously. The last two years I’ve played Fallout 4 and Witcher 3. I’m not sure what I’m going to do this year, but I’ve heard good things about Destiny 2….

My Twitch schedule through the end of the fundraiser will be MONDAY – FRIDAY 4PM-7pm CST

(Unfortunately, I won’t be starting until Wednesday the 15th, because I’m away from my streaming computer right now.)

Note: I might also be streaming on the weekends. But those days will be more erratic, especially as I’ll be at PAX Unplugged from November 17th to the 20th, and I’ll also be skipping November 22nd to the 25th to spend Thanksgiving with my family.

The fabulous Amanda might do a stream or two on days where I’m not available, too. She seemed pretty excited to show you her Stardew Valley farm. I’m also going to bring in some other people to play games with, make funny talk, and just generally have a good time.

But you won’t catch wind of any of this, if you haven’t headed over here to my twitch channel, followed me there, then changed your settings so you get a notification when I start a new stream.

Important Links and Contact Information

Our website will have all of the information you’ll need, including how much money we’ve raised and how many prizes are currently in the lottery. Worldbuilders also has a Facebook page and a Twitter account for those of you who like to have the internet injected directly into your veins.

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Check out our handy FAQ.

Want to donate something to Worldbuilders? Help us spread the word? Do a stretch goal? Write a story for your local paper? Drop us a line here: donations [at]

All right folks. Are you ready? I’m so ready.

Let’s do this thing.


P.S. Just in case you missed it, here’s one more link to our Fundraiser donation page.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, calling on the legions, cool news | By Pat15 Responses

Worldbuilders Approacheth: (Also? Vancouver)

A brief note before the meat of today’s blog. I’m making a quick trip up to Vancouver (Canada) this weekend, so I’ll be doing a book signing at local independent bookstore, Pulp Fiction. It’s Saturday (the 11th) at 6:00.

Here’s a link to the facebook event, if you’re in the area and want to stop by.

*     *     *

Well folks, it’s November, and you know what that means:

Yup. It’s Worldbuilders time.

The fundraiser is going to be launching on November 13th, this upcoming Monday. Geeks of all creeds and nations are going to join together to raise money for Heifer International, all while entering to win fabulous prizes, and goofing off with us.

If you’ve never participated before, it’s a grand time. We have a lottery full of books, games, rare manuscripts, cool experiences, jewelry, and other geeky goods. We have auctions and giveaways…

Also, these last couple years I’ve started to do some promotional livestreaming on my Twitch Channel. I do Q&A streams, talk to special guests, play games of various sorts (while bitching loudly about narrative structure) and occasionally do writing streams. If you head over there and follow the channel, you’ll get notifications for when I go online.

We’re hoping to get another competitive tournament going again, like we did last year for Overwatch, so expect news about that…

And I’ll be writing blogs about it here, too, of course.

*     *     *

If you want to help out Worldbuilders in ways other than just straight-up donating, we’d love to hear from you.

For example, if you wanted to donate something to Worldbuilders that we could use as a prize in our lottery (or that we might auction off) you should email donations (@) The Worldbuilders Crew will happily help you out with that.

We’re also going to continue having team pages on the fundraiser. This lets people run their own mini fundraisers with their own goals and incentives.

If that sounds like something you might be interested in, you can contact us at teams (@) and we can give you some information about that, too.

So… yeah. That’s all for now. Get ready for the fun. We’re planning for all sorts of shenanigans.

Also, have I mentioned the books?

This is our donation wall as of yesterday. And that’s with only a few donors’ donations arrived and unloaded. We’re going to have a record-breaking number of books, games, and other fantastic geekery this year.

So get ready to come play with us: November 13th.

I’ll see y’all soon…


Posted in Worldbuilders 2017 | By Pat10 Responses
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