What We’re Doing & How We’re Coping

So it’s been pretty quiet here on the blog since the fundraiser ended. Partly that’s because I’ve been trying to focus my energy on laying in some infrastructure in my life so that I can be more productive (and that tends to be boring to blog about.)

But don’t assume that silence means inactivity. Home office here has been a whirlwind as my team has been working on fulfilling the Tak kickstarter, drawing prizes for the worldbuilders lottery, and shipping the everyday store orders in the Tinker’s packs.

(And because I know people will ask in the comments: if you missed the kickstarter, you can order Tak over here in the Tinker’s Packs and yours will ship as soon as the Kickstarter is fulfilled. Which will be super soon.)

WaitingUSPSBoxes

Does that sound like a lot of packaging? Because it is.

Mindy

(Seriously, you can barely move in HQ right now)

But while some of our quiet is due to things being busy, it’s not the entire reason for our silence over here. The truth is, pretty much everyone I know is pretty emotionally distraught over things happening in the world right now, Worldbuilders employees included.

I’ve collected a good team over the years. They’re intelligent, empathetic, good-smelling people. They’re socially aware, and politically active. They wouldn’t work here if they didn’t care about making the world a better place.

And… well… not to bullshit around. But we’re all kind of scared right now. There are things happening the the US and around the world that make us very worried for our country and our people.

But when everything seems awful, what do you do?

Well recently, someone sent me a link to this, telling me that it’s helped them recently.

Bilbo it up

It’s a part of a blog I wrote years ago. At the time I was talking about charity, but that particular quote rings even more true these days than it did then.

Because the simple truth is this: When things are bad, all you can do is what you can do.

Which is perfectly accurate but also kinda useless in terms of a strategy.

As I mentioned before, pretty much everyone I know is freaked out right now and feeling some version of, “I have to do something, but what?”

Part of what I’m doing to help is that I reach out to my friends to see how they’re doing. I try to console or comfort if I can. I give them someone to talk to. And if they’re looking for it, I give some advice….

But honestly? I’m calling because desperately looking for help myself. So if my friends have good strategies, I steal them or pass them along. I pick their brains because most of the people I know are smarter than me in at least two or three different ways.

So with the hope that it might be helpful to some of you out there, here’s what some of my crew is doing these days….

  • Brett – Do Research & Talk to People

Brett Monkey

One of the frustrating things about media today is that most people tend to filter their news through Facebook and Twitter, neither of which are ideal venues for nuanced discussion or information dissemination. It drives me nuts to see bad, lopsided, or blatantly spun “news” get shared and retweeted without a second thought. I know I can’t change minds, but at least I can try to get people thinking about the news they share.

I’ve been researching quotes, statistics, and claims put forth in memes and shared blog posts from both sides of the partisan divide since before the election, posting links to reliable sources that either support or refute the information. Snopes is a good, easy-to-digest source (yes, I know, “scandal” and all that, but it doesn’t affect the reliability of the data they compile), but links to the Associated Press and Reuters are solid, as is NPR. If there are several sources that have the same information, find and link to all of them. I usually have several browser tabs open on my phone, just in case I need to look something up.

People will argue with you. They’ll post their own sources and memes to persuade or deflect you, or just to assert their point of view. That’s great–you get to do more research, and you’ll have a better understanding of how they view the issue.

Stuff to watch out for:

1. Topic drift. Stay on target, address only the claims put forth in the original article or meme. If someone tries to argue with you by bringing up something that’s tangentially related or used to deflect (“Trump will release his taxes when Clinton releases her emails”), remind them that you are discussing only the original topic. Stick to your guns, but stay calm.

2. Be patient. Don’t devolve into name calling or one-upmanship. You are trying to give accurate information, not start an argument.

3. Ask for counter-arguments from other valid sources. This will start a dialogue and give others a chance to defend their beliefs with their own evidence. Encourage them to keep explaining their point. If it turns out they’re right about something, let them know.

4. Be open to the possibility that you might be wrong. If you’re wrong, it’s not a character flaw. You might not have the whole story. You might be too close to the argument to see it objectively. These are emotionally-charged times, and we’re all human. If someone you disagree with turns out to be right, admit it and thank them.

5. See things from their perspective. It’s very likely that you both agree on the big picture, but disagree on the source of the problem and the solution needed. The more you listen to someone explain their position, the better understanding you get of how they reached it.

6. Be cool. Be Zaphod Beeblebrox cool. Don’t resort to name calling. Don’t start your own topic drift. Don’t bring up old stuff. You’re better than that. You have access to facts and data the likes of which we’ve never had before this day, and you can use it to build your platform, argue your case, and–probably not change anyone’s mind, but get them thinking. And that’s what we want: we want people to start really thinking about stuff.

TL;DR: Fight “alternative truth” with solid facts from reputable sources. Stay cool about it. Understand that you probably won’t change anyone’s mind, but you might get them to start looking up facts for themselves before they click Like, Share, or Retweet.

  • Amanda – Write Letters to Your Representatives

Amanda Draccus

I’ve been feeling very helpless for the last few days, and most of my coping mechanisms haven’t been all that great.

But there’s a lot of productive things that can be done, and while I’m kind of exhausted these days, it’s important to funnel this destructive energy into the policies I disagree with, and not, you know, myself.

I remembered a video I watched from Hank Green this last summer, and I’m using it to have a system to write to my representatives.

This video was made shortly after the Pulse shootings this summer, so it’s focused on LGBT and gun control issues, but you can use this script to write about anything that’s important to you.

Representatives are much more likely to respond to a hand-written letter than an email or signature on an online petition. I actually got a letter back from one of my representatives, and while he didn’t change his vote, he thanked me for my honesty and he gave me a genuine and thoughtful response. He really read my letter (or a staffer did, but still, *someone* did), and it had an impact.

So imagine if he had been inundated with these letters. Maybe we can make a real difference. And making your voice heard is what democracy is about.

Though, honestly, a letter is great, but a call is better.

  • Nicole – Call Your Representatives

Nicole

It seems like there’s something new happening every day that needs our attention, and with the list of points to discuss with your representatives only growing longer, it’s getting harder to keep it all straight.

It’s overwhelming, to be sure, and while it’s got me feeling like this uphill battle may never be over, I realize now more than ever that giving up is not an option. The more issues that need to be discussed, the more important it is that we discuss them.

I’ve started using 5calls.org to help me stay organized in my effort. While their list of issues that need attention may not be 100% complete, it’s a great place to start, and a great resource for phone numbers and even provides talking points and scripts.

The best part of this site is that it prompts me to make another call immediately after I finish one, which helps me maintain my momentum once I get started.

  • Amanda Again – Take Care of Yourself

The hardest part of this whole thing, for me, has been the incredible desire to disengage. Bad news just keeps coming through, and we need to be constantly vigilant to stay on top of it.

But then my beloved Jenn tweeted something out that I really needed to hear.

Jenn saves my life

So I’ve had a game night or two where we’re not allowed to look at our phones. I’ve been reading a book and watching TV in the evenings rather than going on social media. I play Stardew Valley and revel in the simple living in that little town, flirting with every.damn.body.

I don’t take whole days off yet, but I’m considering it. One a week maybe.

And then, once I’m feeling a little bit better, I see what else needs doing. I look up phone numbers, I read multiple stories from a variety of sources, and I try to make sure I’m informed by more than the inflammatory stories that happen to line up with my beliefs.

***

My people are good people. I love them with big love.

But the fact remains, I don’t know what *I* should be doing.

Part of the problem is that I have a lot of resources, and that gives me a lot of options. I have money. I have a platform from which to speak to many people. (This blog, for example.) I admire the hell out of the folks who call and write letters. But I wonder if that’s the best thing for *me* to do with my time and energy.

I feel like there are a lot of people out there that want do do something. They want to make a difference, but don’t know the best way to do that. I feel like there are people out there who want to stay informed, but who are becoming emotionally exhausted by Twitter. People who want to want to be active, who want to help… But who aren’t sure how. They don’t know where to start. Or once they start, they don’t know where to go next….

For over a month now, I’ve been wanting to start a newsletter for people who want to be activists, but could use some help getting started. Or people who *are* activists but want to up their game. People who only have thirty minutes a week to spare, and want to use that time to the best effect. People who want help staying informed without burning out and being overwhelmed.

This idea keeps rolling around in my head. A mailing list that gives people tools and tricks for effective activism.

I have a list of people I’ve already been reaching out to, just exploring. Just seeing if they might be interested in helping me put this together. Folks who are smarter, more informed, and more organized than I am. People with good brains and kind hearts. Experienced activists of many stripes.

And yeah. I don’t need another project. Believe me. Nobody knows that better than I do. I’m too busy. I’ve got too many irons in too many fires.

But what’s happening right now is really important. And besides, I wouldn’t do this myself, I’d bring someone in to orchestrate it, because I suck at organization.

So. Here’s the question. Is this something y’all might be interested in?

If so, enter your e-mail into the form below. If only 8 people sign up, I’ll breathe a sigh of relief, send everyone a polite thank-you, and walk away from the idea.

But if 500 people are interested… well then I might start putting my team together. A 1000 people? Well, that means there’s a pressing need for activism advice out there. And I could help make that available to people…

So… yeah. If you’d be interested in a mailing list about political activism and things going on in the world, drop your e-mail here. Rest assured that if this moves forward, you’ll be able to choose your level of engagement. I can’t imagine sending out more than one email a week at the most…

So… yeah. There’s that. If you’re interested.

I hope y’all are doing okay. Take care of yourselves….

pat

Posted in a billion links, How to be a Worthwhile Human Being, the man behind the curtain, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat81 Responses

Worldbuilders Stretch Goal: Book 3 Q&A.

Hey there everybody,

As many of you know, one of the final stretch goals for Worldbuilders was a book three Q&A.

Generally speaking, I avoid talking about book three for the simple reason that when I do, a disproportionate number of people start whining at me about how it isn’t out yet. Shockingly, that’s not something I particularly enjoy. Hence my silence.

The other problem is that I’ve answered people’s questions about book three in the past. Done interviews and written blog posts. And you know what happens? Two days later people ask me the very same questions. The result is that I end up irritated, exasperated, and feeling like the whole thing was a waste of time.

So again. Silence.

Still, people *have* been asking for some time. So I was happy to offer it up as incentive to help Worldbuilders hit $2 million in donations.

Scheduling was difficult after the fundraiser, as I had a few unexpected trips to LA this month to talk about Hollywood stuff. But now we have a date for the Q&A: Friday, February 3rd from 3pm to 5pm Central Time, live on my Twitch channel.

(If you head over there now, follow the channel, and set notifications to “on” you’ll get an e-mail when my streams go live.)

Pat Streaming(Actual Footage)

If you have a Twitch account, you’ll be able to participate in the chat. If not, you can submit questions via the form below.

(If you want to share the link to the form elsewhere feel free, the link is right here)

I’ll take questions from the chat as well, but if our turnout is good the chat will be lively, and there’s a fair chance that your question will scroll off the screen before I can see it. And yes, we’ll be putting the chat in slow mode so you people can’t spam your question over and over. So if you *really* want your question answered, your best bet is to fill out the form.

Now, for those of you who have never done a live Q&A with me before, someone at PAX South recently suggested that my Q&A’s should more appropriately be called “Questions and Anecdotes.”

This is very true. People ask questions, and I tell a story. It’s usually somewhat related, but by the time I’m done telling it it’s possible I won’t remember what the original question was. The same will likely be true for this Q&A.

A few facts about the Q&A:

  • I will be accepting questions on other subjects, too.

Like some of the Hollywood stuff that’s been going on. I know everyone’s curious about that.

That said, I’ll be giving questions about book three, the revision process, etc, priority.

  • It will be spoiler-free. (In regard to book three.)

I’m not going to be spilling any secrets about what’s coming up. Anyone who knows anything about me knows better than that.

  • The twitch chat might NOT be spoiler free.

The questions and comments people ask in there might contain information about the first two books. Not to mention speculation about upcoming books. So if you’re vehemently anti-spoiler, you might want to just watch the video and skip the chat.

  • There is no release date yet.

If there were, I would already have told you. Serious people. Why would I sit on that news?

So yeah. Submit your questions and tune in for the show. I plan on drinking a bunch of coffee beforehand, so it should be a good time.

See you soon,

pat

Posted in Ask the Author, Worldbuilders 2016 | By Pat25 Responses

Pat’s Far Travels: PAX South

Hey everyone, Amanda here! Pat’s on his way to a con, which means it’s time for me to post up his schedule for PAX South!

But before he gets to San Antonio for PAX, he’s in LA to do a guest spot on Critical Role, Geek and Sundry’s D&D series, TONIGHT (Thursday, the 26th).

Critical_Role_Logo

The game’s DM is Matthew Mercer, and features a bunch of other cool folks, this time including Pat. Pat’s made a few appearances on Critical Role as Kerr in the past, and he’s really excited to be on again tonight.

If you want to check it out you can watch on either Geek and Sundry’s Twitch channel, or on Pat’s Twitch channel. It’ll be tonight, January 26th at 7PM Pacific Time, so be sure to tune in. As a bonus, if you sign up for notifications for when Pat’s channel goes live and you’ll get a quick alert from there.

If you miss out on Critical Role, though, never fear, there’s a lot of cool stuff happening at PAX, including livestreams…

***

It’s Pat’s first time down to South, and there are a LOT of cool things happening down there.

The folks over at True Dungeon are running a short, free demo of True Dungeon at the con to build awareness and a potential volunteer pool for coming back and running the real deal in 2018. It’ll be 10am to 7pm Friday and Saturday, and 10am to 1pm on Sunday.

It’s no secret that Pat loves True Dungeon (frankly, we all do). We’ve given away seats to play with him and some friends a few times as a part of various Worldbuilders fundraisers.

TrueDungeon

We really like True Dungeon around here, and we think you should too. If you’re going to be at PAX South and want to see what all of the fuss is about, head over to the Stars at Night Ballroom on the 3rd floor for a free, 30 minute demo of one of our favorite games.

If you’re looking to find somewhere to find Pat’s merch, the folks at Toonhound will be carrying our various Pinny Pins, as well as copies of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. WHiffle. If you want to grab some for yoruself, swing by booth 10071 and say hi.

Anyway, enough announcements. Here’s where Pat will be and when at PAX South:

Friday, January 27

  • 4-5pm: An Afternoon with Pat Rothfuss, Main Theater

This event is going to be live streamed on the PAX Twitch Channel, so you can watch Pat goofing off with the audience LIVE.

Remember that the time zones are in CENTRAL TIME, since PAX is in San Antonio, so account for that when you’re tuning in.

  • 6:30-8pm: Autographing Session, Queue room

Both of the signings will have Princess & Mr. Whiffle books available for purchase from Toonhound, and if you haven’t read that one, I can assure you you want to.

Saturday, January 28

  • 2-5pm: Acquisitions Incorporated Live, Main Theater

Acquisitions Inc is also live on the Twitch Channel (again, central time), and it’s guaranteed to be a good time.

If you haven’t kept up with Acquisitions Inc, there was a holiday special released on Amazon Prime recently (decidedly after the holidays) that you can watch and catch up. Pat plays a devilish rogue named Viari with a penchant for swinging on chandeliers, and the game is DMed by one of the best DMs of all time, Chris Perkins.

  • 7-8pm: Pitch Your Game Idea, Cactus Theater

This one sounds hilarious. Attendees have 45 seconds to pitch their game ideas to the panel of judges (one of which is Pat), and the top 3 will win swag and prizes. If you have a really great (or really hilarious) game idea, this is the perfect place to show it off and maybe win something cool in the process.

Sunday, January 29

  • 11:30am-1pm: Autographing Session, Queue room
  • 1:30-2:30pm: Jackbox at PAX…box, Main Theater

I’ve really grown to love all of the Jackbox games, so watching a bunch of cool people play them is something I’m looking forward to. Not to mention I have lots of reasons to believe that Pat might lose at a couple of these games, and I love watching him look silly in front of a lot of people.

This panel is also streamed on the official  Twitch Channel, so tune in with me and watch everyone goof off for an hour.

***

If you’re in the area of PAX South I hope you’re able to swing by (there are still a few badges left!), and maybe watch the Twitch streams if you can’t. I know I will, but I always tune in to make sure Pat’s not embarrassing himself TOO much…

Amanda

Posted in appearances, cool things | By Amanda5 Responses

Final Day: Touching Stories

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

One of my favorite traditions of the fundraiser is the final day. We’ve already showed off all the prizes we’re giving away (over $200K of geeky swag.) We’ve told you about Heifer International in great detail, explaining why they’re the best at what they do.

What’s more, this year we partnered up with a bunch of cool folks this year. People like Rat Queens, Acquisitions Inc, Critical Role, Team Non-Compliant, Team Brimpers, True DungeonRevival, and Team MBMBaMBinos have all offered up their own special prizes and let their geek flags fly on their individual team pages.

As I write this, we’ve raised more than $2,250,000. So I’m declaring this our most successful Worldbuilders ever.

In order to celebrate, today we’re sharing stories and comments that y’all have left for us in the comments on the blogs or on the donation pages pages themselves. We do really read them all. They keep us going.

I love hearing how people get creative raising funds for Worldbuilders, like Saskia.

For our wedding, my husband brewed and bottled beer, and we offered it at the reception in exchange for cash donations to give Worldbuilders. It was a small, costumed wedding in the middle of nowhere, so not many people brought cash, but we’re contributing what we got!

Or Catherine:

I was struggling this year with Christmas present ideas that were meaningful for my family. I frequently check your blog to see what awesome things you might be up to next, and was so happy to discover your charity fundraiser for the first time (better late than never right?). This year my family will be receiving cards with a story inside. Heifer’s story. The end of the story will inform them that I have donated $30 each on their behalf, and that together we have bought another family a goat, or several families ducks, chickens, rabbits or bees, aka a positive start to a new chapter in their lives.

Susan has been supporting Heifer for years, and is enthusiastically joining up with our little shindig:

I love this!  As a 73 yy (years young) person, I have given all my relatives bees and chickens and trees and shares of animals as Christmas gifts for years – Heifer is a wonderful organization, one that you know will see allotted donations reach those that the donations are intended to reach!  Thank you for furthering Heifer’s mission!

And folks like Ann-Christin set aside a specific day’s pay to donate:

Tonight was pretty great. I just worked a 9-hour shift at a restaurant and this is the tip I got. I made the plan to give it all to Worldbuilders before I started working and was really motivated. It felt so great, because I knew with every table I’m waiting, I’m doing something good. And it helped me through all the stress and the long hours of running. So worth it!

It’s a worthwhile reminder that there are lots of ways to get donations together, and that every little bit helps. Chandler put it really well in his comment:

I think I don’t have much. But Worldbuilders always reminds me that I don’t have not much, I have some. And some is better than not much. And after I give some, I still have some. In fact, I have some plus feel goods. And that’s nice.

And Matthew had some great perspective as well:

I don’t have much to give, but if I can help people with a flock of ducks for 20 bucks, I can absolutely forgo eating out this weekend. Thanks as always, Pat.

People like Kurt made significant sacrifices in order to donate. (You’re a better man than I am, Kurt.)

Sold my book collection to donate to world builders. Hope I can win something nice :) . Everyone keep up the good work.

Or like Karen:

I was thinking of buying a new video game today, then I read your blog. Now today I’ll actually (instead of virtually) try to *save the world*. Well, maybe not *save the world* but at least make it a better place for those who truly need it! Brb, donating.

Lots of people have been around for a while, but haven’t had the means to donate, instead spreading the word on our behalf, which we always appreciate. And sometimes, when they finally can donate, those people do so with interest, like MeepleMinion:

As this year I am financially in a position to make a difference – and in order to let you know that your blog DOES inspire – I’ve just donated water. Which will be doubled, yeah! I’ll drink to that.

Or M the Record Keeper:

I’ve been living off of friends and family’s generosity for a few years, and so have only been a spectator to this wonderful fundraiser before… but now that I have a job, it makes me insanely happy, not just because I work in a bookstore (which is awesome), but because I finally be a part of this! Hurray! Bees and chickens for everyone!

And some people have really taken the time to put things into perspective, like Phillip:

I recently lost my home in the Louisiana Floods this fall. My entire family was hit by it and our community. I can count on one hand the amount of people i know that have not lost their house. It’s been a rough couple of months, but I know that even throughout all this that there are still some that struggle everyday to eat. I cannot give a lot, but as Pat said, this is a time when the world needs love and generosity more than anything. I wish everyone happy holidays and bright days ahead.

Or Kaye1 here on the blog:

I’ve always wanted to comment but part of me has always been too afraid. So here I am, my first post. It’s my girls 10th birthday. 10 years ago, we were both in big trouble. I was only 32 weeks pregnant and my baby only weighed a few pounds. We were both fading. I had a rare problem with my pregnancy.
Reading this blog hits me like a ton of bricks. If I had lived in one of the countries that Worldbuilder helps, we would not have made it.
However awful I feel about that time 10 years ago, how many tears we cried, we still made it. And I am blessed with daughters who are truly a blessing to us. So I will make my donation today in the name of my perfect girls.

And really, who better to put things into perspective for us than the kids. So many children got involved this year, whether it was through a group like the story Matthew shared:

From our Piggy Banks for Piggies Campaign, donated by The Gingerbread House Kids! Twenty eight kids ages 18 months – 10 years old donated their own money at our annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party to support this amazing charity!

Or decidedly on their own, like this comment here:

Hi my name is Antonella and I am 3 years old. I like to do good because it makes me feel like hugs and kisses. I would like my donation to go towards 3 flocks of ducks.

Lots of kids left their own comments, as a matter of fact. Here’s one from Evan:

I’m Evan.  I’m 10 and I want the world to be a kinder place.  It’s scary out there. Everyone deserves a chance and I want people to have chickens to help them have a better life and survive.

But most chose to donate after hearing about it from others, like Matthew’s boys:

Just sat my boys down (ages 7 and 5) and spoke to them about the family with the chickens from Pat’s last blog post.  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to give them a little lesson about how charity isn’t just about giving money but also helping people to help themselves.

Or Johanna’s kids:

This donation is from my wonderful kids – they received some money from their grandma and decided there were people that needed it more. Once I told them about what Worldbuilders, they were so excited.

Or Judy’s son:

I’m making this donation at the request of my son, Quinn Gaddy, in lieu of a Christmas gift for him, because he is awesome and requested this specific donation instead of presents. Yay for the next generation!

Or Elyssa’s daughter:

We used your blog to explain the concept of charity to our 5 year old tonight and allowed her to choose the donation level (a chorus of goat! goat! goat! was heard ringing immediately around our house). Hopefully it will get a little girl full of light to share her light with others. Thank you.

We have kids like Charlotte and Maggie, who started a concert on Youtube to promote our cause, or we have kids like Julia, who has truly taken things to heart:

Thanks for everything you’ve done on the fundraising drive this year.  You may (or may not?) recall that my 8 year old, Julia, sent in a picture of her bank last year along with her donation.

img_0739

I thought you might get a kick out the attached photo, a snapshot of her 2016 Heifer catalog.  She has read every word “at least 5 times,” and sleeps with it in her bed.   Julia will contribute $20– 1/3 of her savings– to purchase a flock of chicks.

Everyone. I cannot thank you enough. You’ve warmed my bitter old heart, and made this our best year ever. Your kindness and generosity will change the lives of many people in the years to come.

Today’s our final day. And because of a generous donor’s support, we still have funds to match *all* donations coming in. So if you want to come in now, here at the end, rest assured that your money will be doubled.

Here’s the link one last time.

I’m sure you know what to do with it.

pat
Posted in Worldbuilders 2016 | By Pat20 Responses

Delicious Miscellany

Hey folks, Worldbuilders Team here! We’ve got a ton more cool stuff to show you, and we hijacked Pat’s blog in order to do it.

As we write this, we’ve officially crossed $1.91 million, which is an amazing number to see. We’ve never raised this much before, and we know that it’s because we have such fantastic supporters who are constantly spreading the word and making the world a better place.

Around the end of the fundraiser we always have a ton of cool things that get thrown in, and at a certain point it’s easier to just throw them up and show them off than try to categorize them into specifics.

Some of them are really obvious, like the truly mind-numbing number of graphic novels and comics we got this year.

bunchacomics graphicnovelsandimproperbooks

We’ve got loads of stuff in the lottery for comic lovers, enough that you can select Comics/Graphic Novels as a type of prize you’re interested in from us. There’s stuff from Dark Horse Comics, DreamHaven, John Kovalic, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction, and Improper Books – and there’s even more than this, but showing them all off would be practically impossible here. We’ve put them all up in the Lottery Library to check out anytime you want.

And if you’re into art, then maybe you’d like some of the art auctions we currently have running…

artauctionscalligraphypennyarcade

People like Grace Fong, Karen Hallion, Terri Windling, Geek Calligraphy, and Penny Arcade sent along beautiful calligraphy, limited availability pieces, and full print runs from an art series. They’re all available for auction, and you should definitely check them out in more detail.

Honestly, the wide variety of things people were willing to send along was stunning. Pros offered up all sorts of cool things, like Kevin Hearne’s type-written manuscript for a story in Beseiged.

kevinsms

You can bid on that beauty right here. It’s two drafts, covered in copy edits, making it that much more fun, and it’s a most-definite, one-of-a-kind piece, signed by Kevin. When we heard he was sending it along, a lot of folks in the office started giving each other side-eyes and making plans to see who could outbid who on it.

You could thwart all of us though, and every dollar raised on all of our auctions counts toward our matching money, so the more it goes for the more families we’ll be able to help.

But the truth is, pros aren’t the only ones sending in awesome, personalized stuff. Folks who aren’t professionals showed off some of their craftiness as well.

alyshondrascrossstitch

A fan named Alyshondra made a ton of cool cross stitches for us, doing tie-ins with some of our favorite things. The Moo-ing Draccus won Amanda’s heart instantly, and the Kvothe/Wil/Sim Story of Tonight is already raising a pretty penny over on eBay.

serpentsdance

Serpent’s Dance has worked with us for a few years now, and we’re always thrilled when she comes back with more handmade copper jewelry for us to auction off. She sent over so much this year that we were able to put some in the lottery as well, so you can either donate and hope for a chance, or bid on your favorites in auction.

duxtibbetguns

And if you want pure miscellany, Tait over at Esoteric Garage sent along a whole family of brass ducks (he’s the one who sent us copper goats last year), Jessica sent us a Mr. Tibbet backpack she made for her Princess and Mr. Whiffle cosplay, and Dale sent in a trio of steampunk guns that really need to be seen to be appreciated fully.

It’s amazing what our supporters can create, and it’s even more mind-boggling when they send it along to help us raise money for Heifer International.

And there’s so much more cool stuff than that. There are a bunch of auctions live, but it’s our last batch, and they all end on SUNDAY NIGHT, so be sure to look them over and see if anything catches your eye.

One of our other major deadlines fast approaching is a shipping deadline to receive things from the online store, The Tinker’s Packs, in time for Christmas. As a matter of fact, TODAY is your last day for cheap UPS shipping. We even made you a handy dandy graphic.

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Now, you may say to us, “Silly Worldbuilders, I’ve been a supporter for years. I’ve seen the things in The Tinker’s Packs, and I have all of your Rothfuss merchandise.”

While that may be so, what you may not realize is that we just launched new products with three new awesome creators. A-ha, we surprised you!

Actually nobody was more surprised than we were to find ourselves working with a new crew of super-cool creators, and we have some brand new products we hope you’ll really enjoy.

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In no specific order, we have two new t-shirts from Holly Black, one based on The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (the Dead Last Truck Stop), and one that anybody can wear (The Sweet Balm of Coffee), even if they’re not necessarily a Holly Black fan (you know, that friend of yours who doesn’t understand). If you want to grab one of Holly’s tees, you can find them in our Holly Black collection!

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We also have a stunning shirt by Todd Lockwood that features the design from the cover of his debut novel, The Summer Dragon. It’s a stunning piece of work to begin with, and we can’t believe how well it turned out on the shirt. You can grab The Evertide shirt for yourself here.

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Finally, we have taken over for Rat Queens as their official merchandise outlet! They had their own online store for a while, but it was tough balancing that with creating the comic, so we’ve started carrying some of their most popular shirts, as well as creating new products like a cool jersey scarf featuring their tentacle design. All the Rat Queens stuff is in one collection.

Add to that all the cool stuff we already have for sale, and it’s looking like you might just have one stop for all your gift-giving needs!

This is also your reminder that the fundraiser will be over Monday, December 19th at 11:59pm PST! Pat will be back to share more stories and updates with you guys next time, so until then: thank you all for making this the best fundraiser we’ve ever had!

Posted in Worldbuilders 2016 | By Amanda7 Responses

Author Donated Books….

Yesterday I wrote a blog about a little girl named Charlotte. About how she is holding an Geek-Themed internet concert on behalf of Worldbuilders, and encouraging people to sing.

Since then, her team page has raised over $10,000, and a lot of folks have been recording songs and uploading them to her playlist.

Thanks so much for showing her some love. She’s she’s come a long way from the 7-year-old girl who made a video because she wanted to raise $500 to buy a heifer back in 2014.

Which isn’t to say her first goal wasn’t admirable, given what a Heifer can do for a family:

(Did you see my awesome segue there?)

And as a reminder, every dollar in the fundraiser is being doubled. That means if you give enough for a family to receive a heifer, you’re not just going to improve their life forever. You’re effectively donating enough for two heifers, which means you’re twice as awesome, and you’re doing twice as much good in the world.

Also, have I mentioned that if you donate, you can win cool prizes? I’m pretty sure I might have brought that up a couple times over the last month.

***

Ever since I started Worldbuilders (accidentally) back in 2008, my brethren and sistren authors have been amazing in their support of the charity. They boost my signal on social media. They write blogs in support of Heifer, and perform silly stretch goals. They donate critiques and cameo appearances.

And, of course, they send us books we can give away to donors.

Without getting all maudlin here, it’s meant a lot to me over the years.

A lot of times…. well… I feel like I’m not a very good author. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m good at putting words together. I’m good at telling stories. But I also know I’m kinda shit at doing those things on a consistent schedule.

To put it differently: I’m pretty good at writing, but I’m not very good at being a writer.

Despite this, I’ve met with a ridiculous amount of success. And that makes me feel like… well… it makes me feel like kind of an asshole. Because pretty much every other author I know is better at sitting down, producing text, and getting books out into the world than I am.

The fact that so many other authors come in and with this project…. It’s really kind. Authors whose books I love. Authors whose minds I admire and envy. Authors who consistantly do what I cannot. It’s so flattering that they would take time out of their busy lives to help.

And it’s more than flattering, really. And it makes me feel welcome. Like I’m really part of this community despite the fact that I only *barely* do enough to keep my union card.

Whatever their reasoning, I’m proud and excited that so many of them are willing to come and help out. This year we had over 40 different authors contributing to the fundraiser, donating well over 500 books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(I’m horrified that I might have left someone’s name off the list. If I did leave your name off, I’m sorry. Please know that I still love you. I’m just so tired and frazzled at this point in the fundraiser. If it helps, know that I just now, in this final pass on the blog, saw that we’d left off Gaiman’s name. (I just added it.) So if anything, know that if we glitched on this list, you’re in the same brainspace I reserve for Neil, who I love and admire beyond all words.)

Some authors donated an entire series, so that a new reader would have everything they could want in one prize.

brentwfullset

(Like Brent Weeks)

marthawfullset

(Or Martha Wells)

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(Or Kristen Britain)

A lot of our authors sent us a truly ridiculous number of books. We’re always happy to have a couple of books, especially because most authors who send us their books are going out and buying copies to send to us. Most folks are lucky to get a few author copies written into their publishing contracts, but those usually go to family and friends. What we get from authors is almost always above and beyond that.

We have shelves full of author donated books, and individual authors take up entire sections of our wall.

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Like this shelf full of books from Brad Beaulieu.

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Or this one full of cool stuff from Holly Black.

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Or this practically-unknowable shelf of books from Paolo Baccigalupi.

If that wasn’t enough, some also sent rare, limited, or otherwise fancy editions that we’ve thrown into the lottery for you. We received ARCs, numbered editions, and books that have been out of print for a while. And a truly astonishing number of them to boot.

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There are so many books that if I tried to show them all here, the blog would be twenty thousand words long, and… well… knowing me, I wouldn’t post it until 2018.

But you can see all of them if you go visit the Worldbuilders’ Lottery Library page….

*     *     *

Only a few days left, folks. All of the auctions we’re going to have up are live, including some other author-donated books for those of you who don’t want to take your chances in the lottery.

Here’s the donation link, just in case you happen to need it for anything….

Be good to each other,

pat

Posted in a billion links, Worldbuilders 2016 | By Pat13 Responses

Calling all Troupers: The Birds and the Bees

Yesterday, the Worldbuilders fundraiser passed $1.8 million.

Support has been pouring in from all sides as people continue to donate and help spread the word. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the help you have given us…

Also, we’ve been adding new items to our prize lottery left and right. We’re currently giving away more than $185,000 dollars worth of geeky swag. So much stuff that if you donate $30, you have a 12% of winning something. We’re giving away thousands of books and games, a gaming table from Geek Chic, a cabin for two on the 2017 Joco Cruise, this beautiful Tak board from Wyrmwood games…

kingkillertakboardpanel(I want it. So. Much.)

You know what else donating $30 dollars does? It buys a family honeybees….

Improving Food Security and Nutrition of Coffee Farm Workers' FaThis is Feliciana Martin, a small-scale coffee farmer. Her one-acre farm barely supported her and her daughter until she received the gift of honeybees from Heifer International in 2012. Since then, Feliciana has seen a noticeable increase in her coffee harvest every year. This isn’t really surprising, as improved pollination can increase crop yields in any farm by as much as 200-300%.

What’s more, Feliciana is now also able to collect and sell honey, providing her with additional income. As a bonus, coffee honey is believed to taste better than regular honey, so she is able to charge about 10 percent more.

Improving Food Security and Nutrition of Coffee Farm Workers' Fa(Additional note: Now I *really* want to try coffee honey.)

She collected 60 pounds of honey in the first six months and doubled the number of hives she owns. Then she trained some neighbors on the proper care of bees and gave them hives to start them on their own road to increased independence. This is called “Passing on the Gift.” All Heifer recipients take part it, and it’s a big piece of what makes Heifer’s work so amazing and long-lasting. The good Heifer does spreads through a community like a shockwave, spreading outward for generations…

Feliciana dreams of a better life for her daughter. Now, with more reliable income she can use for food, medicine, and schooling, that dream is a reality.

That’s what we’re doing here, folks.

That’s what happens when you donate thirty bucks….

*     *     *

Except after I typed that dramatic little asterisky scene break there, I realized I’d just told you a lie….

The truth is, this year that’s not what happens if you donate thirty dollars. This year Worldbuilders has access to matching money. So if you give us $30, we’re going to double it and send $60 on to Heifer International.

So… yeah. This is your big chance, folks. Kick in some cash and know that you’re sending twice the awesome into the world….

*     *     *

And speaking of awesome things, one of my favorite team pages is back this year. Little Charlotte, joined by her sister Maggie, have started an online concert to support Worldbuilders.

Please do me a favor and watch this video.

Seriously. You can spare the time. It will improve your day.

Over the last couple weeks, whenever I started to feel tired, or beat down, I’d watch this video. Watching how excited these girls were at the thought of holding their online concert and raising money for Worldbuilders gave me a boost when I really needed it.

As time went on, I came to realize that I really *really* wanted to help make Charlotte and Maggie’s concert a success. I love that these girls want to change the world.

So I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and I donated to their page.

And *then* I decided to put my mouth where my mouth is, and when my throat recovered from my cold, Sarah and I sang a bunch of songs together on my livestream. And then, using their carefully detailed instructions, we added them to the playlist.

Then we sent out links to some of our our favorite geeky musician friends to see if they’d be willing to participate. And they added songs they’d already recorded to the playlist, and now we’re up to 50 videos in the online concert.

So now, at last, I’m reaching out to you.

I invite you to listen to these songs. I hope they bring you joy.

I invite you to record songs of your own and add them to the list. Don’t worry if your voice is not perfect. That’s not what this is about. (I feel I make that perfectly clear in my videos.)

But more than anything, I would love it if you donated to Charlotte and Maggie’s team page. They worked really hard on this, and they deserve some love.

Spread the word about the concert. Share the videos you like.

Music brings people together in a a way that nothing else does.

So come join us. Sing along.

Donate. Spread the word.

Save the world.

Posted in calling on the legions, music, My Mom Would Like This Blog, Sarah, Worldbuilders 2016 | By Pat10 Responses
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