Tag Archives: Ernest Cline

So, SO Many Signed Books from Authors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat13 Responses

More Signed Books from Cool Authors

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This is a  Worldbuilders blog.

Happy new year, everyone.  We hope you all had a night filled with love, laughter, warmth, and joy.  It’s time to start anew, and we’re happy to be a part of that for you.

Even though we took a break over the holidays, the donations kept rolling in. We hit more than a few stretch goals that we’ll be making available soon. What’s more, we’re already on the cusp of raising a quarter million dollars. We’re *way* ahead of last year, and we’ve got a lot of amazing stuff still to come.

If you can’t already tell, today’s blog is being merrily brought to you by the Worldbuilders team. Pat’s getting some writing done and spending time with his family, and we’re perfectly happy to be the ones gushing about today’s fundraiser items.

As you may have guessed from the title, this blog contains tons more books from some incredibly generous authors:

  • Auction: Awesome leather bound copy of Eulogy.  Signed by D.T. Conklin.

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“Conklin writes with a poet’s flair, using minimal words to deliver maximum dramatic impact. Visceral, shocking, and deeply imaginative, Eulogy pushes to the edge . . . and then dives right over it. An unapologetic, no-holds-barred descent into madness—yet there is method in it. Readers with the fortitude to take the plunge stand to be rewarded with what may go down as one of the most ambitious, redefining forays into epic fantasy of all time.” – Eldon Thompson, author of The Divine Talisman

We had a few copies of this in the lottery last year, but this is a special treat: a one-of-a-kind, leather bound copy.  There were twelve made total, but each one was hand-covered and bound.  It’s going up in an auction, so if it tickles your fancy, you should head over here and bid.

  • Set of Holder of LightningMage of Clouds, and Heir of Stone.  All are first editions, signed by S.L. Farrell.

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“Farrell continues to shine as one of the strongest voices in the Celtic fantasy subgenre.” – Publishers Weekly

These are really awesome books, made all the more awesome by the fact that it includes the entire trilogy, and they’re all signed first editions.

  • Set of A Magic of Twilight, A Magic of Nightfall, and A Magic of Dawn.  All are first editions, signed by S.L. Farrell.

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“Intriguing characters and a complex socio-political background make this a strong addition to most fantasy collections.” – Library Journal

Farrell also sent along his more-recent trilogy, the Nessantico Cycle.  This is another complete set, and again all signed first editions.

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“Ridiculously fun and large-hearted, and you don’t have to remember the Reagan administration to love it…[Cline] takes a far-out premise and engages the reader instantly…You’ll wish you could make it go on and on.” – NPR.org

This book will make geeks everywhere happy, and Ernest Cline has been donating copies for a few years now.  We’re throwing all of the copies that came into the lottery to help spread the geeky love.

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“Readers who luxuriate in the telling of a tale and savor phrases where every word has significance will enjoy the challenge of this fantasy.” – Publishers Weekly

  • Copy of Delia’s Shadow.  First edition, includes promotional postcard.  Signed by Jaime Lee Moyer.

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“Moyer creates a hauntingly real San Francisco, full of characters you can’t wait to get to know better. Delia’s Shadow is an engaging debut novel, one that cost me a good night’s sleep.” – Jim C. Hines

Jamie Lee Moyer is one of the awesome folks who has donated a critique of a manuscript this year and in the past.  This first edition copy of her first novel is going to be a great addition to one lucky lottery winner’s collection.  And if that’s too much chance for you…

  • Auction: Copy of Delia’s Shadow.  First edition, includes promotional postcard.  Signed by Jaime Lee Moyer.

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We’ve got two of these, so for those of you who would rather be sure, you can bid on it here.

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“[Readers] will be seduced and enthralled by Gilman’s metaphysical thriller about wicked elves, shape-shifting supernaturals and portals to another dimension….melds magic with mayhem for a tale of bravery, friendship and devotion.” – Publishers Weekly

Laura Anne Gilman also donates a critique every year, and of your entire submission packet to boot.  We were all too excited to get some of her books in for this year’s fundraiser.

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“Vivid descriptions of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood are a plus in a cozy tale that will draw in even those normally skeptical of animal-centered stories.” – Publishers Weekly

L.A. Korntesky is a psudonym for Laura Anne Gillman, so you know these will be good.  They’re in a series called  The Gin and Tonic Mysteries, and have an amazing number of pet-related puns on the covers alone.

  • Copy of Chicks Unravel Time anthology.  Signed by Martha Wells.

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“It’s truly a delight to read smart words from smart people on a subject beloved and important to them. Chicks Unravel Time is a fantastic read that delves into why Doctor Whoholds such a dear place in the hearts of so many, and how it has impacted them.” – The Nerdist

Martha Wells is a great supporter of Worldbuidlers, and she kicked in this Dr. Who anthology for one lucky Whovian to get their hands on in the lottery.

  • Copy of Star Wars: Razor’s Edge.  First edition, signed by Martha Wells.

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EMPIRE AND REBELLION is the title for a trio of stand alone Star Wars novels focusing on Leia, Han, and Luke. Martha Wells wrote the Leia novel, James S. A. Corey is writing the Han Solo novel (Honor Among Thieves, coming out in March), and Kevin Hearne is writing the Luke novel (untitled).

  • Copy of Wheel of the Infinite.  First edition, signed by Martha Wells.

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“Wells spices her latest fantasy with exotic textures and colors reminiscent of India and the Far East, while mystery and court intrigue add depth to this tale of love and risk. Highly recommended for most fantasy collections.” – Library Journal

Martha sent along a huge sampling of her books.  This is one of her stand-alone fantasy novels, but she’s also got a couple of different fantasy series sets in here as well…

  • Set of The Cloud Roads, The Serpent Sea, and The Siren Depths.  Signed by Martha Wells.

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“The Cloud Roads has wildly original worldbuilding, diverse and engaging characters, and a thrilling adventure plot. It’s that rarest of fantasies: fresh and surprising, with a story that doesn’t go where ten thousand others have gone before. I can’t wait for my next chance to visit the Three Worlds!” – N.K. Jemisin

Here we have a set of The Books of Raksura, lovingly signed and donated.  The most recent novel, The Siren Depths, came out a year ago, so the winner of these will be completely up to date.

  • Set of The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air, and The Gate of Gods.  First is an audiobook. Last two are hardcovers, signed by Martha Wells.

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(Not picured: The Ships of Air, which is on its way)

“Wells’ first volume in this new trilogy features fine storytelling and a unique mixture of magic and early 20th century science. Her memorable tale is a good addition to most fantasy collections.” – Library Journal

This is the complete Fall of Ile-Rien Trilogy, including an audiobook copy of the first book.  I love listening to audiobooks, so if you haven’t tried before, this could be your opportunity to give them a chance.

  • Set of The Element of Fire and The Death of the Necromancer audiobooks by Martha Wells.

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“A rich fantasy debut . . . Skillfully blending the fantastical and the mundane, Wells delights with deft and sympathetic characterization while demonstrating a fine touch for adventure.” – Publishers Weekly

These are two stand-alone novels from Ile-Rien, the world of the previous series. You don’t have to have read the other series to enjoy them, so the love is spread for more people to discover Martha’s coolness.

  • Copy of Emilie and the Hollow World.  Signed by Martha Wells.

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“A swashbuckling escape for avid readers that trades buttoned-up boundaries for unbridled adventure.” – Kirkus Reviews

This is the first book in Martha’s YA series.  It has a little bit of something for everyone, and the first chapter is available on Martha’s website.  If it intrigues you, be sure to head over to the Team Page and chip in what you can – as little as $10 will give you a chance to win this, or any of the other cool books listed.

Auction: An ARC of an ARC of Cast in Flame.  Signed by Michelle Sagara.

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This is ridiculously cool, and incredibly one-of-a-kind.  Michelle wrote up a good description of it herself, so I’m just going to quote her directly:

“I am just finishing CAST IN FLAME, the novel I owe HLQ for July 2014.

I asked my editor if it would be okay to offer an advanced, advanced ARC for Worldbuilders; as long as it’s printed (I’d print it), that would be more than fine with her. Given the end of the fundraising drive, this would be pre-editorial requested revisions, but in general, what this means for my Luna novels is: pre the 5k words we have to find to cut >.<.

Since the actual novel won’t be published until July 2014, this would be the only chance to actually read it before then. But it would *also* be the submission draft.”

Yeah.  Ridiculously cool.  If you want a super-early read of Michelle’s next novel, head over and bid on it here.

Awesome edit:

Michelle nudged us with a little bit more information about this auction:

“As an added bonus: I will dedicate the book to whoever is generous enough to win the auction (with a mention of Worldbuilders). I will dedicate the book to the person of your choice if you win and you don’t want your name in the dedication – but I reserve the right to refuse to dedicate the book to, say, myself or someone equally “funny” (I.e., no Hitler, no obvious political swipes). I would need this information by the end of January, 2014, in order to fulfill this part of the auction, because the front matter information (of which the dedication is part) is due in to production by the 31st of January.”

Yeah.  A book could be  dedicated to you.  If that doesn’t push you over the edge into bidding on it, I don’t know what will.

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Thanks for all the kind words lately, everyone.  You warm our hearts and make all of us feel like we’re doing something really awesome with you.

We took a break from auctions over the holidays, but the auctions from this and the next couple of blogs are up.  If you want to get in on them early, head over to our eBay page to start bidding.

Be sure to keep up with the fundraiser on the blog, and get details about how to win thousands of lovely books donated by authors and publishers.

Want to see what other things you can win in the lottery?  Head over to the Lottery Library page to see everything we’ve posted so far.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2013 | By Amanda12 Responses

Cameo Appearances in Upcoming Books

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

And now we have something completely different. Something different and filled with unprecedented cool.

Some authors refer to this sort of thing as a Tuckerization (for historical reasons). Others think of it as a cameo appearance or giving someone naming rights to a character.

But ultimately, it all boils down to the same thing: you’ll be getting to make a guest appearance in an author’s future books.

This is, in some ways, a chance at immortality.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what sort of a rare opportunity this is. Authors occasionally do this sort of thing for a friend, or as a joke, or *rarely* as a sort of promotional thing. But these are rarely auctioned off, and I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of a bunch of them being put up for grabs at the same time….

Now, before I list the auctions individually, I’m going to have to put on my dad voice, look at you all seriously, and tell you to *please* read each of the descriptions carefully.

Each author is handling their auction in their own way. What’s more, they’re each offering something slightly different.

For example, trying to get your D&D character’s name into Mary Robinette Kowall’s book probably isn’t going to fly. But I bet Ernest Cline would go for it…. Hell, knowing him, he might prefer it.

Okay. Enough caveats. Let’s move on to the awesome….

Ernest Cline Writes:

“To help raise money for Worldbuilders, I’ve decided to follow Patrick Rothfuss’s lead and auction off a chance to suggest a character name in my next novel, which I’m currently writing. But please notice that I said “suggest” a name. If you suggest something crass like HotCock007, Heywood Jablome, or Ann Coulter, I reserve the right to veto it and implore you to make a different suggestion. We’ll work something out. This is a speculative fiction novel set in the present day, so I’m relatively certain I’ll be able to sneak just about any kind of name you suggest into the story. If you win the auction, I’ll give a minor character in the book your first name, your last name, your AD&D character’s name, your dog’s name – whatever you want. But be warned: this character may die a horrible death shortly after their introduction.

Let the bidding begin!”

To bid on Ernest’s truly awesome tuckerization, go here.

Gail Carriger is pleased to offer a Fantasy Hat Cameo for inclusion in one of her up-coming Parasol Protectorate universe novels. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the 2013 Worldbuilders fundraiser.

Gail will work with the winner to describe a hat (or sketch, or photo, or real life headpiece) to appear in a Parasol Protectorate Abroad or Finishing School book. Put a bonnet on a vampire queen or a steampunk topper on your favorite drone. Who knows, if it’s truly outrageous, perhaps even Ivy herself will give your hat a twirl.

Contact details with Gail to be set up following the auction.

To bid on the most awesome hat option, click here.

Hugo-award winning author Mary Robinette Kowal will tuckerize your name into a forthcoming piece of fiction. What does this mean? It means that she will work your name into a story or novel depending on what your name is and which project it seems to fit best into. She’ll also send you a signed manuscript before publication.

To bid on this tuckerization and manuscript (!) head over here.

  • A tuckerization to appear in the next Marla Mason novel by T.A. Pratt.

T.A. Pratt Writes:

“I will use your name, or a name we mutually agree upon, for a character (or something else) in my next Marla Mason urban fantasy novel, Bride of Death. In the past I’ve named henchmen, murder victims, sailing vessels, and curses after people (or their loved ones), so I’m flexible, and will do my best to accommodate any reasonable requests. We’ll work out the details after you win.”

To bid on potentially naming a curse after your mother-in-law, head over here.

Name a murder victim!

Jaime Lee Moyer is offering you the chance to name a murder victim in the third book of her series, working title Against A Brightening Sky. The winner gets to choose the name, age and gender of a murder victim for Against A Brightening Sky. The book is a ghost story murder mystery set in 1919 in San Francisco, so please keep the time period in mind when choosing a name. Moonshadow or Timelord Dane might be a difficult fit.

The winner’s murder victim can briefly return from the dead and make an appearance as a ghost as well. Just let Jamie know when you give her the name.

Who doesn’t want to name a murder victim after themselves? Or better yet, an ex-lover or arch-enemy.

To bid, head over here.

  • A cameo appearance in a future book by Patrick Rothfuss.

(Me.)

Here’s the deal. If you win this auction, you’ll win a chance to propose a name for book three. If the name you’re proposing sounds great to me, then huzzah.

If not, the two of us will talk it over.

For example, maybe you want to get your girlfriend’s name into book three because she’s a big fan, and you’re hoping it will get you that threeway you’ve always wanted. But her name is “Veronica” and that doesn’t quite feel right for my world.

So we start talking it over. Maybe we can use her middle name instead. Maybe we use her nickname and I tweak the character’s description a little bit so that it more closely resembles her. (Though I’ll probably do this a little bit anyway.)

Maybe I put a little twist on the name. “Veronia” for example, would be fine for my world. I like that name a lot, actually.

Or maybe you decide you’d rather use your own name after all. And it turns out that works wonderfully, because your name is Ferrel and that’s exactly the sort of name that would fit on a Vintish Courtier, and I happen to be tweaking the Vinish section of the book right now anyway….

What I’m getting at here is that we’ll negotiate until we’re both happy with the addition to the book.

So if you’re interested, you can bid on it over here.

  • LOTTERY ADDITION: A cameo appearance in a future book by Patrick Rothfuss.

(Also me.)

Because I spent 9 years as an undergraduate, I know what it’s like to not have a lot of folding money.

So, in addition to the auction above, I’ll throw one cameo appearance into the Worldbuilders lottery as well.

That means for every $10 you donate to Heifer International on our Team Page, you get a chance to get your name in my upcoming book, *as well as* the chance to win some of the cool books donated to this year’s fundraiser by so many cool authors, bookstores, and publishers.

Now let me stress again, that this doesn’t just mean you get to jam any old name you want into my book. We’ll negotiate something.

I feel the need to stress this, as I fear having a conversation like this on the phone:

Me: Congratulations! You won the auction!

Winner: Yay! I want to put my D&D character’s name into the book!

Me: And that name is….

Winner: Studd Beefcake.

Me: …

Winner: He’s awesome. He’s a dual class fighter/ranger. That means so long as he’s only wearing leather armor…

Me: I don’t think the name Studd Beefcake will fit smoothly into the world I’ve created.

Winner: How about my other character? Grignir Theqjirn’ateth.

Me: I beg your pardon? I think there was some static on the line…

Winner: Grignir Theqjirn’ateth. He’s a dwarven monk.

Me: Do you…

Winner: Stunning Fist!

Me: Yes. Stunning Fist. Do you have any ideas for names that aren’t your D&D characters?

Winner: Well… We could use my son’s name…

Me: That sounds great. What is it?

Winner: Drizzt.

Me: I think there are copyright issues involved…

Winner: Drizzt Do’Urden RULES! Wooo!

That said, I’m more than willing to negotiate. (See the above description.) Provided you’re not entirely insane, I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out….

*     *     *

If you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can find them over here.

Or, if you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat18 Responses

Signed Books from Cool Authors

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

Every year, we get a bunch of books donated by the authors themselves. And this year is no exception…

All of the books below are signed by the authors. What’s more, some of them are limited edition, rare, or cool in their own beautiful snowflake way.

As always, most of them are going in the lottery, so you can win them if you donate at least ten bucks over on the Worldbuilders Team Page.

But we’re throwing a few of them up into into our auctions too, in case you’re into that sort of thing.

This is a pretty, pretty book. One of the limited editions Subterranean Press put out that’s now out of print. I was going to throw it up in an auction… but then I decided to leave it in the lottery, where anyone can win it. Because I love you.

“Vivid, brutal, and thematically rich, this captivating title is sure to win teen fans for the award-winning Bacigalupi.” – Lynn Rutan

This book is a little extra cool because it’s an ARC (Advance Reader’s Copy). These books tend to be pretty collectable especially when they’re signed by the authors. (As you can see from the auction we’re currently running with some of Abercrombie’s books.)

“Beautifully written, filled with high-octane action, and featuring badly damaged but fascinating and endearing characters, this fine novel tops its predecessor and can only increase the author’s already strong reputation.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Honestly, after reading these blurbs, I’m going to have to check these books out for myself. Obviously I’ve been missing something good….

Lost Everything doesn’t offer sermons or solutions, just a poignant, poetic, devastating way of pondering the questions. Grade: A” – Jason Heller, Onion A.V. Club

“[Liberation is] a heady stew, a road novel shot through with mysticism and a love of freedom that soars over the pages.” – Cory Doctorow

  • A paperback set of Agents And Adepts, Talking to Trees, and The Crystal Throne. Signed by Kathryn Sullivan.

“Great characters, a fascinating world, a scary villain, griffins and talking trees, what more can a reader ask for…?” – Carrie Masek,

  • A set of Rats and the Ruling Sea, The River of Shadows, and The Red Wolf Conspiracy. Last two signed by Robert Redick.

I got to meet Robert this year at World Fantasy in Toronto. We had a great panel together where we talked about the wanderer as archetype, and he impressed me enough that I’ll admit to having a bit of an author-crush on him right now. It happens.

“Insane god-kings, miniature warriors and sentient animals fight over a powerful ancient artifact in Redick’s dramatic, complex debut. Both adult and young adult readers will find much to enjoy in this tale of sea-faring and bloody diplomacy.” – Publishers Weekly

“Readers with the fortitude to take the plunge stand to be rewarded with what may go down as one of the most ambitious, redefining forays into epic fantasy of all time.” – Eldon Thompson, author of The Divine Talisman

  • White Dragon, The Destroyer Goddess, and In Legend Born. Signed by Laura Resnick.

“[About In Legend Born] For action-packed storytelling filled with prophecies, plot reversals, and conflict-haunted heroes, this is as good as it gets.” – Philadelphia Inquirer

  • VamparazziUnsympathetic Magic, Doppelganangster, and Disappearing Nightly.  Signed by Laura Resnick.

“Fans of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series will appreciate this series’ lively heroine and the appealing combination of humor, mystery, and romance.”- Library Journal (starred review)

  • A hardcover set of Metal Fatigue and The Resurrected Man. Signed by Sean Williams.

“Once you step into William’s meticulously, but effortlessly, created world, you will not be allowed to leave until the danger is past. Don’t worry, though, you won’t want to, no matter how complicated things get.” – Lisa DuMond

  • Fatal Alliance and The Force Unleashed II. Signed by Sean Williams.

“[About Fatal Alliance] With so much riding on its shoulders, the book demands an unusual gift for cracking good space opera, and that Williams possesses in full measure.” – Roland Green, Booklist

  • Auction: A set of Fatal Alliance and The Force Unleashed II. Signed by Sean Williams.

Sean was nice enough to send us two copies of these, so one’s going into the lottery, and putting the other up in an auction.

So if you have a rabid Star Wars fan in your life, you might want to head over there and make a bid. Christmas is right around the corner…

  • A paperback set of Iron Druid Chronicles: HoundedHexed, Hammered, Tricked, and Trapped. Signed by Kevin Hearne.

“Kevin Hearne breathes new life into old myths, creating a world both eerily familiar and startlingly original.”—Nicole Peeler, author of Tempest Rising“A witty new fantasy series.”—Kelly Meding

  • Auction: A paperback set of Iron Druid Chronicles: HoundedHexed, Hammered, Tricked, and Trapped. Signed by Kevin Hearne.

For those of you that have a thing for sexy redheaded protagonists, we’re throwing a second set of Kevin’s books up for auction over here.

  • A paperback set of The Tainted City and The Whitefire Crossing. Signed by Courtney Schafer.

“In every way more robust and assured, [The Tainted City] doubles down on grand stakes while keeping the pressure on personal ones….Schafer’s definitely a writer to watch, and I for one look forward to doing so.” – Liz Bourke

  • Auction: A paperback set of The Tainted City and The Whitefire Crossing. Signed by Courtney Schafer.

Look how sweet… she even said thanks for supporting us!  Now you know you have to have it, so to place your bid, head over here.

  • A first edition copy of Ready Player One. Signed by Ernest Cline.

I’ve talked several times about on the blog about how much I enjoyed this book, so I won’t go on and on…

Suffice to say that I’m terribly fond of both Ernest Cline and his book, and not just because he’s the reason I first got invited to Wootstock…

“Enchanting…Willy Wonka meets the Matrix. This novel undoubtedly qualifies Cline as the hottest geek on the planet right now. [But] you don’t have to be a geek to get it.”—USA Today

  • Auction: A first edition hardcover of Ready Player One. Signed by Ernest Cline.

Did I already mention that Ernest Cline gave away a freaking Delorean with clues hidden in his books? Yeah. He did.

Given that, I suppose it’s not a huge surprise that he was willing to donate these lovely first edition hardcover copies of Ready Player One. They can easily go for more than 200 dollars to collectors right now. Imagine what it’ll be worth when the movie finally comes out…

So go on, head on over to the auction and make a bid. You’re not just supporting a worthwhile cause and getting a cool book, you’re making a sound financial investment.

*     *     *

Remember, for every 10 dollars you donate on our Team Page, you get a chance to win these books and many, many more.

If you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can find them over here.

Or, if you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat3 Responses

More Signed Books From Cool Authors

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

So over the last week the fundraiser galloped madly forward to the point where we’re already within spitting distance of 150K. So in addition to seeing the 100K bonus blog later this week, you’ll probably be seeing the 150K pretty soon too. That’s in addition to all the other coolness we already have lined up.

I’m hoping  beyond hope that we might make it all the way to 250K this year. I’d really love be able to say, “We raised a quarter million dollars for Heifer international.”

Okay. Moving on. Today’s books.

I have a working theory that sci-fi and fantasy authors are among the coolest people around.

As proof of this, here’s a blog full of books donated by the authors themselves. Many of them signed, and with additional promotional items included.

  • Three first edition hardcover copies of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Signed by the author.

Pat’s Note: I’ve already talked about how much I love this book. So I won’t go on and on again.

Except to say that I really loved it. And it’s awesome. And you should read it.

“Triggers memories and emotions embedded in the psyche of a generation…[Cline crafts] a fresh and imaginative world from our old toy box, and finds significance in there among the collectibles.” – Entertainment Weekly

  • Six hardcover copies of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Signed by the author.

“The science-fiction writer John Scalzi has aptly referred to Ready Player One as a “nerdgasm” [and] there can be no better one-word description of this ardent fantasy artifact about fantasy culture…But Mr. Cline is able to incorporate his favorite toys and games into a perfectly accessible narrative.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times

  • One rare out-of-print first edition hardcover copy of Curse of the Mistwraith: The Wars of Light and Shadow, Vol. 1 by Janny Wurts. With matching laminated bookmark. Signed by the author.

Curse of the Mistwraith continually takes turns that leave the reader excited and lost. But not in a bad way; there are only so many books you can read where you know exactly what will happen before boredom sets in. With Wurts’, you are forever left guessing at the turn of events.” – UK Fantasy Book Review

  • Two hardcover copies of To Ride Hell’s Chasm by Janny Wurts. Signed by the author.

“Janny Wurts writes with astonishing energy… it ought to be illegal for one person to have so much talent.” – Stephen R. Donaldson

  • Two hardcover copies of Eon’s Door by J. G. McKenney. Signed by the author.

“A captivating storyline with a lovely surprise at the end…beautiful imagery, and a great read.” – Sift Book Reviews

“Bear’s ability to create breathtaking variations on ancient themes and make them new and brilliant is, perhaps, unparalleled in the genre.” – Library Journal

This ARC will be published on March 27, 2012.

  • Three copies of The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells. Signed by the author.

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

  • One ARC of Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole. Comes with Supernatural Operations Corps collectible coin. Signed by the author.

Pat’s Note: This is an ARC of a book that won’t be coming out until the end of the month. As an extra bit of  coolness, it comes with a challenge coin created specifically to promote the book.

“Cross The For­ever War with Witch­world, add in the real world mod­ern mil­i­tary of Black Hawk Down, and you get Control Point, the mile-a-minute story of some­one try­ing to find pur­pose in a war he never asked for.” – Jack Camp­bell, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Lost Fleet series

“Moses is a fine writer and is deserving of success, and I think that it will follow. I really enjoyed Moses’s work.” – David Farland, New York Times Bestselling Author

  • One set of Cold Magic and Cold Fire by Kate Elliott. Signed by the author.

Pat’s note: Includes a signed printed pamphlet of Bonus chapter 31.5 which is currently online on Kate’s website or as one of 100 printed pamphlets.

“Elliott has concocted something very special and original here, with elements to tweak sci-fi and fantasy fans of nearly any stripe, from alt history and steampunk aficionados, to lovers of intrigue, romance, and swashbuckling adventure.” – New York Journal of Books

  • One set of the Crossroads Trilogy by Kate Elliott: Sprite Gate, Shadow Gate, Traitors’ Gate. Signed by the author.

“Elliott crafts complex…characters, including strong women who persevere in repressive, non-egalitarian societies. She is equally adept at outlining intricate religions and myths. This promises to be a truly epic fantasy.” – Publishers Weekly

  • One hardcover copy of The Wooden Man: A Twenty Palaces Omnibus by Harry Connolly. Signed by the author.

Pat’s Note: We actually have two copies of this book, but we’ll be auctioning the other one off in a couple weeks. Stay tuned for that.

“Excellent reading…a truly dark and sinister world, delicious tension and suspense, violence so gritty you’ll get something in your eye just reading it.” – Jim Butcher

  • Two copies of Imperium: A Caulborn Novel by Nicholas Olivo. Signed by the author.

“The right amount of Gore, Humor, Love and Good vs Evil.” – Badass Book Reviews

“An aggressively dark, highly original SF-fantasy novel with tight, cutting prose and some of the most inventive world-building I’ve seen in a while.” – FantasyLiterature.com

  • Two copies of The Seventh Tower: The Fall by Garth Nix.

“[Garth Nix is] the coolest read in the playground.” – Amanda Craig

  • One hardcover copy of Abhorsen by Garth Nix. Signed by the author.

“Nix’s storytelling is never less than commanding, and his precision plot stays tightly focused. The icing on the cake, and a mark of a good writer becoming great, is the care taken to make peripheral characters into real people.” – SF Site

*     *     *

Remember, you for every 10 dollars you donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page, you get a chance to win everything here, not to mention the hundreds of other books that have already been donated.

What’s more, if you donate before January 31st of 2012, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation.

Spread the word…

Posted in Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat26 Responses

Jayne Hats, Cool Art, and Stein with a Freaking Bear

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

First, some good news.

Yesterday we hit $50,000 on our Team Heifer donation page. It only took us two weeks to hit our first goal.

As promised, I’ve bumped up our donation thermometer to $100,000, and I’m putting together a bonus blog full of cool stuff I will personally add to the lottery. I’ll post that up on Monday.

But today we have a different sort of blog….

*     *     *

Over the years, a lot of people have offered to donate things to Worldbuilders.

Generally speaking, I try to keep the charity book-focused. We’ve had a few notable exceptions, like a signed Brett Farve jersey and a guitar signed by Creed. But generally speaking, I’m reluctant to stray too far from the book-centered thing that we have going on.

But earlier this year, an awesome reader named Amanda sent me an e-mail. She liked to knit, she told me. If she made a bunch of Jayne hats for Worldbuilders, would I like to sell them in the store?

How could I refuse?

So this year, in addition to our gorgeous Literary Pin-up calendar, we’re going to try selling a few non-book things in our store. If you order now, we’ll get them in the mail right away, so you have a good chance of seeing them in time for Christmas. We’re launching a few more auctions too, to  keep Neil Gaiman’s limited edition screenplay company.

Keep in mind that items in the store are limited. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

  • Cunning knit Jayne Hats.

A person walks down the street in a hat like this, you know they’re not afraid of anything.

This hat will not damage your calm, though wearing it may cause you to look as sexy and badass as Sarah.

These hats were all hand-knit by the lovely Amanda and donated specially for Worldbuilders.

You can view more pictures or buy the hats here.

Okay, most of us are proper geeks. That means we’ve read a lot of fantasy. And, as we all know, most of the best fantasy starts in an inn, preferably inns full of people eating stew and quaffing ale.

But the truth is, it’s really difficult to quaff without the proper equipment. You cannot quaff out of can or a bottle. An ordinary glass doesn’t work either. Tankards work passably well, but to properly quaff, you really need a big fucking hand-crafted pottery stein.

Where can you find such a thing? Well, funny you should ask, because Charley at Sea Bear Pots has donated six awesome steins to Worldbuilders.

You can see more pictures of the pots and read Charley’s descriptions over here.

Or you can hurry over and buy the steins in our store.

These were donated from the creatively awesome folks at Fancy Fortune Cookies.

I’ve talked about their cookies on the blog before on more than one occasion. Not only can you customize your fortunes, but the cookies themselves are delicious.

You can get them in flavors like Cappuccino, Cherry, Chocolate, Peppermint, Raspberry, Green Apple, Toasted Coconut, Orange, Banana, Fruit Punch, Blueberry, Graham Cracker, or Lemon. Then you can have them dipped in caramel, almond bark, or chocolate.

Erin has donated six different kinds of cookie packages. You can check them out here.

  • AUCTION: Giant Fortune Cookie with a preview of The Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 3.

(Auction does not include baby)

Tired of Fortune cookies that don’t actually come true? Wish you could *really* see the future?

Well look no further. This cookie holds a piece of the future. Specifically, it contains a sneak peek of book 3, written by my own hand.

Now first off, let’s be clear. This cookie is legitimately huge. It’s as big as your head. It’s the sort of cookie you want to bring out when you have friends over so you can share it.

Secondly, you can get it customized. The folks at at Fancy Fortune Cookies will tailor this cookie to your particular taste.

Third, it will have a piece of book three inside. That means it will taste of delicious secrets.

This is an auction item, and it will be ending on Dec 23rd.

To bid on this auction, follow this link.

  • AUCTION: Chocolate-Covered Cookies with Fortunes from Patrick Rothfuss.

These cookies contain personalized fortunes written by me (Patrick Rothfuss.) They will make you laugh, they will make you cry, they will leave you a shattered, gibbering wreck of a human being. Or something.

To bid on this auction, click here.

  • Signed Ernest Cline vs. Patrick Rothfuss Posters.

(Click to Embiggen)

Back at the end of August, I did a team reading/signing with Ernest Cline at McLean&Eakin’s in Petoskey Michigan. This poster was designed especially for that event.

Ernest is the author of Ready Player One, a book that I enjoyed with every square inch of my geeky, geeky heart. It’s one of the few books that I’ve  given a blurb.

After our epic battle, Ernest and I signed a few extra posters for posterity. Given that this was Ernest’s very first ever signing, these things are sure to be worth millions of dollars some day. Especially after Ernest’s movie comes out and I spiral into methadone-fueled madness.

You can view or buy the poster here.

If you’re a map geek like me, then you have to love this map of Alera. Not only is it extremely posh, but it’s signed by both author Jim Butcher and the illustrator, Priscilla Spencer.

The wonderful Priscilla Spencer has donated this piece to Worldbuilders. You may find more of her work at her website.

To see more pictures, or bid on this auction, you can follow this link.

  • Signed Kvothe Giclees by Donato.

This is the original artwork for the first Name of the Wind bookcover by artist Donato Giancola, the “Fabio” cover as I like to call it.

This print is a 13″ by 17″ giclee, which is way better than just an ordinary print, apparently.

(Valerie’s note: this is pronounced “zhee-clay” for everyone like me who is going to pronounce it wrong and feel dumb, as opposed to the people like Pat who will pronounce it wrong and not give a damn.)

It is signed by Donato. If you want, I’ll write my name on it too.

You can view or buy the giclees here.

  • AUCTION: Signed, numbered gilcee of Kvothe by Donato.

Donato has also donated a signed, numbered edition of the Kvothe picture. This one is larger than the one above. It is a 24×18 giclee and numbered 21/1000.

If you win the auction, I’d be happy to sign it too. Or not. Whatever you’d prefer.

To bid on this auction, you can follow this link.

  • AUCTION: Signed, numbered Neil Gaiman print: “The Day the Saucers Came.”

(Click to Embiggen)

In this print, Jouni Koponen illustrates Neil’s poem: “The Day the Saucers Came.” It’s hand-printed on a semi-matte silky smooth paper stock.

This signed, limited edition print was specially donated to us from Neverwear. This 10″ x 29″ print has everything you could ever want, zombies geniis, UFOs, giants, fairies… even killer bees.

To bid on this auction, you can follow this link.

*     *     *

As always, all the money we raise from auctions and sales in The Tinker’s Packs goes to Worldbuilders.

You can follow this link to look at all the Worldbuilders auctions. Please keep in mind that all auctions listed on this page end on Dec 23rd.

To see more donated books, as well as other auctions and the items we’re selling in the store, you can head over to the main Worldbuilders page.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat18 Responses

San Diego 2011: Thursday Part II – Wootstock

This is part of my San Diego ComicCon diary from 2011. It’s sort of the middle of the story.

If you want the whole story, you might want to start reading at the beginning. Other parts include: Wednesday, Thursday Part I, and Friday Ad Infinitum.

*     *     *

Before I tell the story of Wootstock, I should give you a little background so things will make sense.

A stab at definition.

For those of you that don’t know about it, Wootstock is….

Wootstock is….

Well, it’s just Wootstock.

It’s sort of like a modern variety show. (Except nobody knows what a variety show is these days.)

Imagine A Prairie Home Companion if it was run by a bunch of sci-fi nerds. (Man, that’s no good either, does anyone else other than me listen to A Prairie Home Companion?)

Okay. How about this. There’s music. There’s comedy. There’s music-comedy. There’s skits. There’s cussing and nerd humor and poetry and, well…

It’s pretty much a big geek performance orgy.

Honestly, I’ve wanted a piece of Wootstock for ages. Ever since I first heard about it, I wanted in.

Now did I get a piece of the action?

I got an invitation from Ernest Cline.

I mentioned his book on the blog a while back. It’s called Ready Player One. And not only did I like it enough to give it a blurb. I liked it enough to dig up his e-mail address and gush to him directly about how much I loved it.

I think the entire content of my first e-mail was, “Your book is fucking awesome.”

I tried to get them to use that for the blurb on the back, (“This book is fucking awesome.” — Patrick Rothfuss) But their marketing people wouldn’t go for it.

Anyway, Ernest got an invite to Wootstock from Wil Wheaton, who is narrating the audiobook of Ready Player One. Ernest, being a generous human being, asked if I’d like to share some of his stage time.

I said yes. I said it in a firm, manly, baritone. Then I hung up the phone and laughed my most maniacal laugh.

Right. So. We all on the same page here?

7:00 – Backstage.

I walk up to the side door of the Balboa Theater in San Diego. Someone was waiting for me at the door, where they gave me this:

My very first All Access pass. It makes me feel like a rockstar.

I go backstage and down into the secret parts of the theater. It’s a magical sort of place. It’s a secret place that only the performers get to see, and it’s electric in a way that’s hard to describe. Everyone there is getting ready for the show. They’re excited, and a little nervous, and happy to see each other. Plus it’s comic-con, so we’re all a little exhausted. And a few of us are slightly tipsy, too… (Though not me, as I’m not much of a drinker.)

There’s a blur of people all over the place. Some of them I recognize, like Adam Savage from Mythbusters. And the guys from Rifftrax (who used to do MST3K.)

I’m introduced to a few people in a whirlwind fashion. I shake hands and nod at names. But they all run out of me like water. If I say, “someone said” or “someone did” I’m not trying to protect anyone’s identity, or snub them. It’s because a lot of the evening is a blur to me. I suck at meeting people, and I only have space in my head for about 5 new names.

Then I turn around and Wil Wheaton is there.

It’s weird meeting someone you kinda already know. And I kinda know Wil from a bunch of different directions. From his blog, from Star Trek, from his books, and from the Guild.

Plus we e-mailed just a little a day or two before Wootstock. I won’t bullshit you, that made me kinda tingly.

Anyway, we’re introduced, and we shake hands. He thanks me for the nice things I said about his book on my blog. And I’m a little surprised that he’s read it, though I shouldn’t be, I suppose. I tell him that I loved it.

That’s all we have time for. The stage manager is gathering everyone up to make some announcements before the show.

We all jam into a room and Liz is introduced. She is the boss. She tells us how it’s all going to work. She tells us we can watch from backstage, and that we should, so that we don’t miss our cues. She tells us to stick to our allotted time. She tells us where the beer and pizza are.

Everyone else nods attentively. There are a few jokes. But all of this is old hat for most of them.

Me? I’m grinning like an idiot. The show hasn’t even started yet and I’m having the best time….

*     *     *

I should explain something. I used to do lots of group-performance type things. I used to sing in choirs. I used to do radio comedy. I used to act a little, and did a few plays, a musical or two.

I even used to do a little improv comedy. Which is like a trial by fire. Once you do improv comedy, no other type of performance will ever truly frighten you.

Now I didn’t do a lot of these things seriously. But I did them. I enjoyed them.

And I miss them.

You see, one of the downsides of being a writer is that it’s a very solitary occupation. If everything is going well with my writing, I’ll spend 10-12 hours a day alone, and the rest of my time sleeping. (Also alone, usually.)

When I do get out to do a reading or a convention, I have a lot of fun. I enjoy meeting fans and signing books. I enjoy doing Q&A and reading stuff to an audience. It’s a nice opportunity for me to go out and be social.

But while it’s social, it’s a very solitary type of performance. I’m up in front of 200-600 people talking. There’s just me and the audience.

I’d forgotten what it was like to be part of a group of performers. To be a piece of a WE.

It feels great.

*     *     *

Liz makes one last announcement. They’ve gone to the worst seat in the house and borrowed the person’s camera. They’re going to pass it around backstage and we’ll all take pictures with it. That way the poor schlub with the worst seat will have a cool memento of the show and, as a bonus, the pictures will go online so everyone can use them.

It’s only because of the photoset that I have a shot of Ernest and me backstage, wherein I am getting my Kawaii on.

The show kicks off, and after cadging a piece of free pizza, I head upstairs we head up onto stage and watch the show from the wings. The theatre is gorgeous. A place with some real style to it.

It’s certainly the biggest house I’ve ever played to, and I’m a little nervous. But despite the fact that I’m anxiously fretting over what exactly I’m going to read, I can’t help but get pulled in by Molly Lewis playing the ukulele.

Her songs crack me up as I watch from backstage, and it helps me relax a bit.

Then, as I’m watching her play, a little motion catches my attention from the corner of my eye. So I look over and see Wil Wheaton dancing.

Before that point, I liked Wil Wheaton. I knew he was cool. I respected him as a writer, enjoyed him as a performer, and admired him as a strong, smart, outspoken member of the geek community.

But backstage in the Balboa theatre, I watched Wil Wheaton do a happy, goofy little dance, and that was when I started to love him.

Soon afterwards, Ernest gets his cue and heads out onto stage. He reads some hardcore geek poetry. Good stuff. He’s a good performer, too. Gets a good reaction from the crowd.

Then he introduces me. I’m a surprise guest of sorts, as I’m not on the program. People cheer when they hear my name, which is kind of a shock. It’s then that I decide what I’m going to read. I’m not going to try to follow Ernest’s poetry with more poetry. I think he’s got me beat in that regard.

I’m not going to read a piece out of my book, either. Too clunky. I even decide against reading a piece of a short story I’m working on.

No. A whole theatre of people cheering and my new man-crush Wil Wheaton watching from the wings means I go straight to my best material. The piece I keep in my back pocket whenever I do a reading. My sure-fire winner. My big gun.

I pull out The Guinea Pig Story.

Those of you who have seen me at a live reading might have heard it. Most of you have not.

It’s one of of the humor pieces I wrote back in college. Theoretically I was writing an advice column, but realistically I was making fun of people and telling incriminating stories about my life.

Here’s the only video I was able to find of the performance. The first little bit of my performance is cut off there, but it’s only about a sentence of the letter someone wrote in, asking for advice about keeping pets in their dormroom.

[Edit: After searching around a bit, I found another video from farther back in the audience that shows my performance AND Ernest’s with Wil Wheaton’s introduction.]

I got a great reaction from the audience, and left the stage feeling roughly ten thousand feet tall.

8:00 – Random House Party

After hanging around for a while and watching a few more acts, Ernest said he was going over to the Random House party and asked if I’d like to come along.

Though I was loathe to leave, I figured I should go and rub some elbows with some more bookish types. That’s kinda my job in some ways.

So I went to the party, hung out with some folks, and ended up riding a mechanical bull.

Why? No. Why is not the right question. I was at San Diego ComicCon. The proper question is “why the fuck not?”

That party was fun, but after about 45 minutes, I made my excuses and headed back to Wootstock. Because, y’know, Wootstock.

9:00 ish – More Wootstock.

I got back just in time for intermission, where I amused myself by handing out copies of the Chick Tract Dark Dungeons to members of the audience. I hope nobody thought I was serious….

After all my tracts were gone, I used my fancy pass to get backstage, feeling rockstar all over again. I wandered down to the dressing rooms and bumped into Felicia Day, who was also a surprise guest. I got a free hug and we chatted for about forty-five seconds before someone tells her she’s about to miss her entrance cue.

Somehow, someone managed to catch us on film during that brief moment. Proving that I’m not a big fibber.

I hang around and chat with folk, occasionally watching some of the show from backstage. I catch Jeff Lewis (Vork, for you Guildies out there) doing a piece of honest-to-god standup comedy. The man has amazing comic timing and delivery. As you’d already know if you were watching The Jeff Lewis 5-minute Comedy Hour.

11:30 ish – Autographing.

Eventually the show wraps up with a great closing number that I watch from the wings. Then I head downstairs to get my backpack and maybe another slice of pizza before I head out. When I’m gathering up my stuff, someone asks if I want to stick around and sign autographs. I shrug and agree, because I have nowhere else in particular to be.

Now over the last couple of years I’ve done a lot of signings. It’s old hat in a lot of ways. Usually I’m all alone. I’m a one-man-show.

But this one was different. A bunch of the performers were sticking around to sign posters and programs.

What’s more, at Wootstock, most of the people could give a damn about me. They’re there to see Wheaton, or Savage, or bask in the radiant glory of Paul and Storm.

And you know what? It was nice  doing a signing where most folks didn’t care who I was. It gave me a chance to goof off and get to know the people sitting on either side of me. To my left was the aforementioned Molly Lewis. And to my right was someone I didn’t know at all, but I quickly learned that she was Amy Berg, writer/producer for Eureka (among many other things.)

So we hang out and chat as the line of people slowly trickles past. I’m feeling pretty relaxed. I’ve had a good day. I was on a panel with George Martin, had dinner with Jim Butcher, and got to chat with Wil Wheaton. I went to a party with an actual velvet rope, and the bouncer nodded me through even though I wasn’t on the list. I rode the mechanical bull and didn’t hurt myself. I got a hug from Felicia day and made a thousand people laugh….

It’s  been a busy 14 hours, and I’m in that warm, happy place that comes when you know you don’t have to work any more. And, because I’m in a good mood, I start to joke around with the people coming through the line….

And that’s when I *really* start to get to know the people sitting on either side of me.  I draw a picture of a duck on someone’s poster, and they mock me for its utter terribleness. They mocked me with a sharp-tongued viciousness I haven’t experienced since most of my best friends moved away from Stevens Point.

So I abandoned drawing and started signing clever things on the posters. Then my neighbors started writing things on their posters that were clever-er. And I feel really put out by this, because normally *I* get to be the witty one, and they were out wittying me without hardly trying. I felt the sudden need to step up my game, to say nothing of wanting to buy some of Molly’s music and catch up on the current season of Eureka….

The signing went on for at least a couple hours, and it was the perfect end to the perfect day. As I left the theater I felt that strange, glowy feeling that comes when you level up. It wasn’t until I got home that I found out where the XP boost had come from:

Best of all, I’d made it through two entire days at the convention without making an ass of myself in front of anyone.

But then again, it was only Thursday….

*     *     *

Sorry this one was so long delayed. More soon…

pat

Posted in a billion links, College Survival Guide, Consistent Verb Tense Is For Bitches, conventions, Felicia Day, meeting famous people, my rockstar life, the longest fucking blog ever, videos, Wil Wheaton | By Pat37 Responses
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