Tag Archives: Amber Benson

An Abundance of Signed Books

You all have been going above and beyond, with our total creeping ever closer to the $500,000 mark. In the last day alone we’ve raised more than $75,000. That’s enough to buy biogas stoves for 75 entire villages.

YMCA Mbale Branch (21-0510-02)

Around 3 billion people in the world still cook and heat their homes using open fires. By buying stoves for the entire village, you’re improving the health of families who would otherwise very likely develop chronic lung and eye diseases from smoke inhalation in poorly ventilated buildings.

Biogas stoves also mean that children no longer have to gather firewood by hand, saving hours a day, so there is more time for school and homework.

And even more than that, biogas stoves run on animal manure, something that already has to be dealt with. At the end, the slurry in the biogas digester can be used for fertilizer, improving crop yields with little added effort. Nothing wasted, and they provide so many benefits.

And we’ve raised enough to provide that to 75 villages in one day. Imagine what we can do in the 10 days we’ve got left…

* * *

Today’s blog has awesome books from all over the place. All of them are signed, and there are a few very special editions, whether they’re first printings, limited runs, or personally inscribed to Worldbuilders donors.

They were kicked in by publishers, authors, and longtime Worldbuilders supporters, and while the majority of them are in the lottery, where anyone who donates $10 or more has the chance of winning them, there are a few gems that we’ve put up for auction as well, so read closely and see if there’s anything you think you’d like to add to your library.

  • ARCs of The Witches of Echo Park. Signed by Amber Benson, coming out in January 2015.


This is a real treat. Amber is a lovely person, and she’s been helping us out for years, including that time she pretended to be Pat on twitter for a while. Her publisher pitched in a bunch of early copies of her upcoming book, which was awesome.

We’ve put some in the lottery, but for those of you who want to be certain, there’s one up for auction over here.


Writing Excuses has been around since 2008, and is a great podcast to get into if you’re interested in the many aspects of genre writing. Brandon, Mary, Dan, and Howard talk for 15 minutes or so each week about a different subject that has to do with writing or producing speculative fiction or webcomics.

This anthology is one short story from each of the hosts, and this copy is signed by all four of them. It’s in the lottery, too, so someone is going to get a real treat.

  • Auction: A hardcover set of The Stormlight Archive books: The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance.  Signed and dedicated to Worldbuilders by Brandon Sanderson.


“Epic in every sense. Sanderson has built a world that leaps to life, a cast of varied characters and a vast history which slowly unfolds with the deepening story of Roshar.” – Guardian

These have been inscribed for Worldbuilders, and in Way of Kings Brandon even claims that the book is almost as epic as Pat’s beard…

These are really cool, and since they’re up for auction, they could be yours if you head over and bid.

  • Auctions: Copies of A Dance with Dragons. One first edition, one deluxe limited edition. Signed by George R.R. Martin.


“Filled with vividly rendered set pieces, unexpected turnings, assorted cliffhangers and moments of appalling cruelty, A Dance with Dragons is epic fantasy as it should be written: passionate, compelling, convincingly detailed and thoroughly imagined.” – The Washington Post

This first edition (pictured on the left) is really cool and collectible, since it’s signed by George R.R. Martin, so if you’d like to add it to your collection, you can bid for the chance over here.

If you’d rather go full archival collectible, there’s the Subterranean Press Deluxe Limited Edition, also signed, including illustrations from Tom Kidd. It’s a promotional copy of what is now a sold out edition, so if you want one, your best option is to bid on it over here.

Dying of the Light2

As has been previously covered, Subterranean Press makes really gorgeous special editions of books, and Dying of the Light is no exception.

This is actually Martin’s first novel, written before A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s illustrated with full-color end sheets, three full-color plates, and fifteen pen-and-ink illustrations by Tom Kidd. This copy is numbered 233 out of 500, and if you want it, you can bid on it over here.


April was kind enough to send us a few copies of the first book in her series. She’s a big supporter of Worldbuilders, and even has an auction going to be Tuckerized in her upcoming book.

If you want the chance at the books, all you have to do is donate on the team page.

  • Auctions: A set of the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy and a copy of Razor’s Edge. All signed by Martha Wells.


Martha Wells is a wonderful, long-time supporter of Worldbuilders. She’s kicked in lots of books in the past, and this year we’ve got a bunch more.

The ones that are up for auction are a hardcover copy of Razor’s Edge, which you can bid on over here, as well as a full set of the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, which you can bid on over here. All of the books are signed, and donated with love.

  • Razor’s Edge, a set of the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy, Wheel of the Infinite, a set of the Emilie series, and a set of the Books of the Raksura series. All signed by Martha Wells.


Martha was particularly awesome and sent more than one copy or set of some things, so we’re also throwing a bunch of her books into the lottery.

Again, they’re all signed, so donating to the team page gets you the chance to get some new books to read if you’ve never picked them up before, or some fancy signed copies to brag about to your friends if you have.


It’s always awesome when authors donate copies of their books, especially when they’ve inscribed them. The inscription here is really thoughtful, reminding everyone who wins that these books are physical proof that you changed a person’s life for the better with your donation.

And that’s a really heartwarming thing to know.


“With three-dimensional characters, a gripping plot, and a world that became real to me, John Gwynne’s Malice is a great debut. In short, this is the kind of fantasy I love to read and I truly can’t wait for the next volume in The Faithful and the Fallen!” – Fantasy Book Review

We got a couple of copies of this, including a limited edition copy, number 424 out of 500, so we’ve put that one up for auction. If you want it, you can bid on it here.

  • Auction: A notebook full of notes for the upcoming book Killing Pretty by Richard Kadrey.


This was an absolute treat to receive, and a lot of us here at Worldbuilders HQ have been gazing longingly at it.

You see, despite appearances, this is no ordinary notebook. Every scrap of paper, scribbled note, and printed picture has relevance and meaning to the not-yet-published book 7 in the Sandman Slim series, Killing Pretty.


Richard explained the donation thusly:

“I keep a notebook for each of my novels. The books are full of story and character notes, as well as visual reference photos. I finished my newest novel, book 7 in the Sandman Slim series, and don’t need the notebook anymore.”

The book itself doesn’t come out until July of 2015, so the winner of this auction is going to get all sorts of juicy secrets and plot points well before the actual release. There are more pictures of a few choice pages over on the auction, for those of you who are curious.

You know you want it. Bid here. We won’t stop you.

  • Auction: An early manuscript of The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Critiqued mercilessly by Brett.


This is a cool piece of history. Brett read this very copy, making all sorts of excruciatingly honest critiques of the story, and catching a lot of spelling errors. Pat found a lot of this particularly amusing, so you should really go over and check out the auction, even if only to see the photos of some of the mistakes that were made that Brett caught. We’ll just say: “simpathy lamp.”

This manuscript was printed before the folks at DAW got a look at it, so it’s a little different from the finished book, but largely familiar. There are a few passages that have been reworked, rearranged or tweaked, there are a few different names and spellings, and you can see some instances where Pat was playing with different ways to convey magical commands and slang. It of course has random notes here and there, including comments where Brett was confused, disgusted, or bowled over by the story.

As you may also see, this book is hilariously long when printed out on paper. It had to be bound in two parts, because it was just so unwieldy in one.

If you want this rough-draft manuscript, bid on it over here.

*  *  *

We love all the cool stuff that people donate to us every year, and we’re always amazed at the different types of collectible pieces that make their way through our office. It’s exciting to think that some of this stuff will find its way to the right person–the person who will treasure it like it needs to be treasured.

So while we’re getting all this neat stuff into the world, we’re also helping buy a different sort of cool stuff for people who really need it–biogas stoves, for instance.

And that’s the other side of the excitement around here. Seriously. When Amanda did the math for how many biogas stoves can be bought with what we raised in a day, all of us told her she was wrong and had to re-do her math. When we found out she was correct, we just stood there and stared at each other. There are seriously no words for how cool you guys are for blowing our minds like this.

Thank you everyone for pitching in, spreading the word, donating, voting, watching our stretch goals, bidding on auctions, and buying Tinker’s Packs swag. You’re improving the lives and futures of villages full of people.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2014 | By Amanda8 Responses

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

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

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

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

So here it is: my interview with Amber Benson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P: I think I saw that on IMDB.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you a native Californian, or a transplant?

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

P: What are you reading right now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Yes. Yes, we can.

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

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

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

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

P: How did you get involved in the project?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How horribly off-base is that comparison?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: There’s a sex wagon?

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

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

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

I’m not going to do it. I refuse.

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

P: I’m still not falling for it.

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

A: Bastards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay. We’re on.

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

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

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

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

P: I’m looking forward to it too…

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

Let’s see if we can make it happen.

Click here to donate and make it happen

Or click here for details about Worldbuilders.

Posted in I am completely fucking serious, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat19 Responses

Worldbuilders 2012

(Edit: Are you looking for the current Worldbuilders fundraiser? If so, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place.

Click here for the current fundraiser.)

What’s that you say? You want to make the world a better place while winning fabulous prizes?

Well today is your lucky day.

Heifer International is my favorite charity. It helps people raise themselves up out of poverty and starvation. Heifer promotes education, sustainable agriculture, and local industry all over the world.

They don’t just keep kids from starving, they make it so families can take care of themselves. They give goats, sheep, and chickens to families so their children have milk to drink, warm clothes to wear, and eggs to eat.

(Are you ready? I’m so ready. Let’s do it.)

Pay attention now, you’ve got a couple different options for donating.

Option 1: The Lottery.

This is the option most people will want. It’s simple. You hop directly over to the page I’ve set up on Team Heifer, and donate.

When you donate on that page, two things happen.

1. You’ll move us closer to our stretch goals (shown below).

2. You’ll be entered in the lottery.

After the fundraiser is over, we’ll have a random drawing for all the swag that’s been donated. Thousands of books, comics, DVD’s and other cool miscellany.

For every 10 bucks you donate, your name will get entered into the drawing once. If you donate thirty bucks, your name goes in three times. Think of it as buying tickets, if you like.

We’ve had *way* too many books donated to post them all up at once. So I’ll be putting up a blog full of donated books every day or so, just to keep y’all from being overwhelmed.

Make sure to check back often to see the new coolness.

Last year, book-lovers and geeks from all over the world helped us raise more than $310,000 for Heifer International. It was a stunning display of generosity and goodwill.

Still, I think we can do even better.

In order to encourage people to donate, we have some stretch goals this year. Every time we raise another 50K, something new and cool will be added to the fundraiser.

I’ll go into more detail about some of these stretch goals as they get closer. But the first of these is a request that’s come from the regular readers of my blog. Over the years, I’ve had countless requests that I explain the details about the calendar and the currency system of the Four Corners.

We’re currently on the road to our 350K stretch goal. If we hit it, the people at Geek Chic will design and produce a functional Lockless Box.

You can donate over here on our Team Heifer Donation Page.

Note: Worldbuilders ends January 21st, 2013 at 11:59 pm CST.  All donations must be in before then to qualify for the lottery.

Option 2: The Sure Thing.

Or, as I like to think of it, the Christmas Present Option.

For those of you who aren’t interested in the lottery, we have some stuff you can just buy.

Our store, lovingly named The Tinker’s Packs, has t-shirts, posters, and other coolness available for purchase. We also have a slew of foreign editions donated and signed by the authors. Portuguese, German, Spanish, Japanese…. These editions are really hard to find if you live here in the US, and we have a *lot* of them.

All proceeds from the store go to Worldbuilders, of course.

Additionally, this year we’ve produced a Fantasy Themed Pin-Up Calendar. Every month showcases a different fantasy author, either featuring a character from a book (Like Cersei Lannister from Martin’s Game of Thrones) or an homage to the author’s work (Like the Fahrenheit 451 inspired pin-up of Bradbury’s.)

You can click on the image below to see the author’s names, and get glimpses of the illustrations.

If you’re interested in seeing some full images and the classic pinups that inspired them, I highly recommend checking out the blog Lee Moyer wrote on the subject.

N.K. Jemisin posted up her page along with a fascinating blog talking about how she worked together with Lee on the painting of Oree. You can also see Neil Gaiman’s page over on his blog. It’s one of my favorites. His wife, Amanda Palmer, posed as the model for Media from American Gods.

And, of course, there’s more images on the order page in The Tinker’s Packs.

We posted a lot of new stuff in the store this year.  There were Jayne Hats, Cthulu cards, Pottery Steins, and so much more.

Option 3: Auctions.

Last year we did a few auctions and they seemed to work out pretty well. So this year we’re continuing in that fine tradition, auctioning off some of the rarer and more specialized services people have donated.

This year we have professionals who are willing to read and critique your manuscripts. We have signed art and rare books. We have the chance to win guest appearances in comics and get your name into upcoming books.

Stay tuned, as we’ll be adding new auctions all the time.

For a full listing of all current Worldbuilders auctions, CLICK HERE.

A Plea For Sanity

Lastly, I’d like to ask everyone to please read the instructions/directions carefully before they donate.

I know you’re excited. I’m excited too. We’re all going to raise some money, make the world a better place, and end up with big warm fuzzy feelings.

But the more emails my assistants get about missing addresses, wrong sizes, or forgotten personalization requests, the more likely they are to cry. You don’t want that, do you?

I’m sure you don’t. And I’m sure that you’ll read the instructions carefully.


Have questions? Most of them are probably answered over in the FAQ. (Even if your question isn’t answered, I talk about Batman a bit, so it won’t be a complete waste of your time.)

Lastly, just in case you missed it, here’s one more link to our Team Heifer donation page.

Let’s do this thing.


P.S. Below are this year’s lovely sponsors. They have donated, books, services, and cold hard cash to make Worldbuilders what it is today.

You should show them some love. They deserve it.

Posted in baby ducks, calling on the legions, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat33 Responses

Author Talk: Building Character

About a month ago, I did a G+ hangout with Felicia Day, John Scalzi, and Amber Benson in order to promote the launch of Felicia’s new maelstrom of nerd-awesome: Geek and Sundry.

We set out to talk about what makes for good, interesting characters, and the conversation spiraled pleasantly through all manner of interesting tangents after that. In addition to being a fun talk with some of the wittiest geeks around, I think we also ended up raising some interesting points about stories, writing, truth, beauty, etc.

Anyway, if you missed the live broadcast, you can stop weeping softly to yourself in the corner. They’ve just posted up the video over on youtube.

Here it is:

Man, I really need a haircut….


Posted in Felicia Day, Interviews, tangentality, the craft of writing, videos | By Pat48 Responses

In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of Amber Benson

So last week I tried something new. I went to a romance convention.

When I was growing up, the only convention I knew about was Gencon. But over the last couple of years, I’ve been around the block a bit. I’ve hit most of the big ones: DragonCon, San Diego Comic-con, WorldCon, as well as at least a dozen others.

Most cons I attend have two things in common.

1. They have had a strong track of writing programming. (Because I like talking about writing).

2. They’re sci-fi and fantasy themed. (Because that’s how I roll).

So how did I end up at a romance convention?

Well, first off. I was invited. Most of the conventions I go to, I go because I’m invited. This is because I’m lazy.

Second off, Romantic Times gave The Name of the Wind Best Epic Fantasy of the year in 2007. It’s nice to go to a convention where they think you’re cool. (Or at least where they thought you were cool back in 2007.)

Third, I was kinda curious as to what a romance convention would be like….

It was like this:

  • At one point I was in a crowded hallway, heading to a panel. Out of curiosity, I looked around to see if I could find another man. I couldn’t. I kept looking, then turned in a full circle. I still couldn’t.
  • The ratio of female authors to male authors attending the convention was at least 20 to 1. It was like the anti-gencon.
  • They have an event called the “Mr. Cover Model Contest” where strapping young men parade about on stage. I don’t know what the winner gets, but I hope the prize package includes a shirt. Those poor boys looked cold to me.
  • I bought a book for Sarah.

Because… y’know…. viking.

And honestly, that’s all I really have to say about the convention.

The other reason I went to this convention is that it’s in LA. I know some people in LA that I don’t get to see very often, so it was a good excuse to visit them.

Now those of you who have been reading the blog for a while might remember my first, shameful meeting with Amber Benson. Since then, we’ve gotten to know each other a bit, and when we were chatting on e-mail we came up with the idea of doing a reading and signing together when I was in LA.

So we did.

We got together for dinner first, and while we ate, we shared war stories about our books. Both of us had just written sex scenes for the first time, and we talked about how weird it was.

Then something happened. I honestly can’t remember the exact details, but I’m pretty sure I suggested that we should read our sex scenes at the event later that night. I was kinda joking, but not entirely.

Then Amber said the equivalent of, “I will if you will.”

Faced with a challenge like that, there was no way I could back down.

So about an hour later, we were standing in front of 100 people, telling them that we were going to read them some sex. They seemed okay with it.

I went first, reading the end of chapter 95. I got a little sweaty and red in the face, but I made it through pretty well, especially considering I’ve never read it out loud before.

Then it was Amber’s turn. We’ve both been busy lately, so we haven’t had a chance to reach each others’ newest books yet. So she’d thought my scene would be more explicit. She was worried her scene was way smuttier than mine. She started to read, then stopped and stepped away from the mic, shaking her head.

Now that I was done with my reading, I was pretty relaxed. I felt great, in fact. My reading was done, and I was all full of adrenaline.

“If there’s dialogue in there, we could read it together,” I joked.

Little did I know there was dialogue. So I was trapped. After an extended bout of being extremely flustered, the two of us read her sex scene together, giggling like third graders all the while.

Luckily, someone caught it on tape. You can witness the glorious debacle here if you want.

All in all, it was one of my favorite readings ever. And as a bonus, I discovered I can do a southern accent if I want to. Who knew?


Posted in conventions, do I look fat in this, My brilliant ideas, my rockstar life, sexy, videos | By Pat85 Responses

In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of Penny Arcade

So last week I attended a romance convention and did a signing with Amber Benson. Needless to say, I have some stories to tell.

But first I should deal with the current news: Kvothe got a mention in Penny Arcade today.

This fills me with a geeky joy which words can hardly express. I’m a long-time fan of Penny Arcade. When they called me this weekend to give me an early peek at the comic, I bolted upstairs to my hotel room in a most undignified manner. Then, when I saw it, I laughed uncontrollably for a solid minute.

Did they make fun of the book? Of course they did. That’s their job.

The more important question is, “Did they poke *legitimate* fun at the book.” Did they mock something that, viewed in the proper light, deserved to be mocked a little?

And the answer, again, is yes. That’s what makes them more than mere humorists. Mike and Jerry consistently stride the lofty realms of satire, where they harvest raw platonic truth, forge it in the white-hot fire of their anger, then hurl it down at the howling monkeys below.

I, for one, am honored to be their monkey.

Does it sting? Nah. Not really.

For one, I know them. They’re lovely people. And being gently mocked by skilled professionals is a treat. Like I said, they make a fair point.

But also, my best friends have always been very honest people. Mockery has always been the way we’ve shown each other love. I’d flatter a stranger. But if I’m making fun of you, you know that I like you.

So I guess what I’m saying is this: “Thanks Jerry. Thanks Mike. I love you too.”

Here’s a link to the strip. Be warned: there is some very mild spoilerage. If you’re a purist and haven’t read through Chapter 128 yet, you might want to wait before you check it out.

It’s getting late, and I’m still recovering from the convention. So I think I’ll tell my other stories in a day or two. If you want a teaser though, I’ll say this: The romance convention was a headtrip, and the reading with Amber Benson was, well, sexy.

More soon,


Posted in conventions, cool things, sexy, Webcomics | By Pat37 Responses

A few upcoming signings…

So I’ve got a couple signings coming up. They’re falling about one a week in April, which is quite relaxing compaired to the one every day that I was doing in March.

I set this one up just today, and it’s not even a week away. So if you know of anyone here in central wisconsin who might be interested, I’d appreciate it if you spread the news to them.

April 2 at Noon
Signing at Bookfinders
1001 Brilowski Rd
Stevens Point, WI 54482
Phone: 715-341-8300
Facebook Event

I’ll be hanging out at the local bookstore here in Stevens Point for a couple hours this upcoming Saturday, signing books and chatting with anyone who cares to stop by. Bookfinders will have copies of The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle as well as hardcover versions of The Name of the Wind.

Also, because this is close to my house, Oot might be making a guest appearance.

April 8 at 7:30 PM
Skylight Books
1818 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: (323) 660-1175
Facebook Event

This one is going to be fun, as I’m doing a talk and signing with the fabulous Amber Benson.

Amber has graciously forgiven me for making an ass of myself a couple years back. So we’ll be talking about epic vs. urban fantasy, answering questions, and just generally being cool. Or at least Amber will be being cool, and I’ll be faking it to the best of my ability.

April 15 at 7 PM
Barnes & Noble
10000 Research Blvd #158
Austin, TX 78759
Phone: 512-418-8985

Facebook Event.

When I did my signing at Murder by the Book in Houston, 50 people must have said that they drove down from Austin to attend. So, since I’m going to be in town for a convention, I figured I’d do a signing for folks that couldn’t make the trip.

Earlier this week, I did a call-in show on WPR. If you’re interested, you can listen to the recording of the broadcast here.

If we could avoid the endless screeling noise in the comments along the lines of, “Why don’t you ever come to XXX?” I’d appreciate it.

Cool news on Friday. Stay tuned.



Posted in appearances, Interviews | By Pat90 Responses
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