Tag Archives: Liesel Schwarz

Games, Books, and a Video from Neil Gaiman

On Wednesday afternoon, Worldbuilders crossed the $600,000 mark on our fundraiser.

On Wednesday night, this happened:

neil jabberwocky tweets(There are some days I almost believe I’m one of the cool kids.)

Then, early yesterday morning, this happened:

Thank you, everyone for donating.

Thank you Neil for being your lovely, generous, kindhearted self.

We’ve got four days left in this year’s fundraiser, where every $10 you donate to Heifer International on our team page gives you the chance to win thousands of cool books and games in our lottery. (You can calculate the exact odds of winning something using the widget above.)

Now, on to today’s additions to the fundraiser. First the games:

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Munchkin is all of the fun of playing D&D with a lot more snark, sarcasm, and backstabbing. Plus, it’s a lot simpler, and you get to fight the Dread Gazebo.

If you’ve never played Munchkin, you really really should. These are all going into the lottery, so if you choose to receive games as a prize option when you donate, you might just get the chance.

  • Auction: Munchkin Game with signed Luggage Card

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In case you already know and love Munchkin, let’s sweeten the deal by adding the rare promotional Luggage card, signed and doodled by John Kovalic and signed by Steve Jackson. The Luggage, from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, is a semi-intelligent trunk with lots of little feet that acts as both luggage and bodyguard for the clueless, hapless, and a few other -lesses tourist, Twoflower. Twoflower eventually gives it to Rincewind, and along those lines, the Luggage in Munchkin will bounce from player to player depending on dice rolls.

Of course, just like in the book, you can never really get rid of it.

The Luggage card is *very* rare, so we’re auctioning it off with a signed copy of the game over here.

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This game is a nice twist to your traditional deck building game. In addition to buying and using new cards, the segments that make up the game board get removed from one side and added to the other during play, giving a videogame-like side scrolling feel, and challenging players to remain aware of things that had been visible and aren’t any longer.

Coolest thing of all? This game isn’t even out yet, so if you donate and win it in the lottery, you’ll be able to taunt your friends.

  • Auction: Hardcover copy of Magic the Gathering: Complete Collection. Signed by Matt Forbeck.

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This book contains 16 issues of the IDW “Dack Fayden” comic series, and it’s signed by Matt Forbeck with a sweet Worldbuilders inscription to boot. If you’re even a little into MTG worldbuilding, this is right up your alley.

You know you want it, so go bid on it here.

  • Copies of  Quarantine, including the First Aid Expansion. Signed by Mark Klassen.

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While the gameplay and rules are simple, this game will never be played the same way twice. Players are trying to build the biggest and most efficient hospital while taking care of the patients as they arrive and preventing those patients from spreading disease through the hospital.

Hospitals are built with an interesting “price-drafting” mechanic that requires some serious strategy to get the rooms you want for a reasonable price without losing them to the other players.

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Level 99 games is one of our newest sponsors, and we’re excited to have them. This game is a bit of a rarity as it’s two gaming elements I’ve never seen combined before. It’s a character-driven game with a physical element, so dexterity actually plays a part in your success.

All of these are going into the lottery where anyone who donates can win a copy.

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Here we have a real-time card game that simulates a chaotic bar brawl. It’s a simple game to pick up, but can be played as strategically or casually as the group wants. It’s all the fun of a bar fight without having to worry about the bloody knuckles! These are going into the lottery as well….

  • Auction: Full Name of the Wind Poker Box Set: 2 card covers, all 3 playing card decks, 300 poker chips, and a signed bookplate, all in a heavy wooden display case.

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This was a Kickstarter-exclusive item, so there’s nowhere to get them any more. Well… except from me, because I bought a few extras and hoarded them.

We put a few into our IndieGoGo fundraiser over the summer, where they sold out really quickly for 600 bucks each. Since then we’ve had more than a couple people come asking if there’s any other way they can get hold of one.

To see more detailed pictures of my chips, box, and other art, you can head over here.

  • Auction: Rare Tyranny of Dragons Pinny Arcade Pin.

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Some events at PAX will get you cool, rare pins. This one is from 2014. You got one if you attended the live show of Acquisitions Incorporated. I traded to get an extra one, and we’re auctioning it off over here.

  • A full set of Cards Against Humanity.

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I kind of assume all of you already know about CAH. It’s described as “A party game for horrible people” and that really says it all. I’ve played this game many, many times, always with horrifying and hilarious results.

What some folks don’t know is that folks at CAH are as lovely as their game is fun and horrible. They do a lot of charitable work, and happily donated two full sets of their game to us this year. (The base game, expansions 1-5, the 90’s pack, the 2012 and the 2013 holiday packs, and The Bigger Blacker Box.)

Due to the nature of this game… we’re probably going to call the winner before we put it in the mail. If you’ve played it, you know why.

  • Auction: The full set of CAH, including rare add-on packs and pins.

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This set has everything above, *plus* four of the rare, hard-to-come by expansion packs that only tend to get handed out at special events.

As an added bonus, I’m throwing in my own personal set of the pins they gave away at PAX Prime this year. You won’t see many of those around….

Head over here for more details, or to place your bids.

And now some lovely books. Some of these are going up for auction, but many of them are going into the lottery instead where if you donate, you can win them.

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I am a big fan of  The Oatmeal’s work. And if you’re not, you should be.

This year The Oatmeal (Matt) donated a bunch of stuff to the fundraiser, so we’re putting 4 of his books together in a bundle for you in the lottery.

The books are 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth, How to Tell if your Cat is Plotting to Kill You, Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants, and My Dog: The Paradox.

With titles like that, how could you *not* be intrigued?

  • A bundle of coolness from The Oatmeal: I <3 Tesla mug, I <3 Tesla Pin, and a rare signed original printing of 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth.

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We’ve also got a different Oatmeal bundle going into the lottery that has a mug, pin, and the much-more rare edition of Punch a Dolphin. This edition was printed before The Oatmeal started to make it big, so it’s a bit of a collector’s item.

One of these is going to a lucky winner in the lottery, but we’re putting a second set up for auction over here for those of you who want to get a hold of this rare early version of his book

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This YA novel won the 2012 Young Writers Prize. It’s an up and comer, and doing pretty well for itself. Plus, it’s written by a long time fan, our very own Captain Joe, winner of the previous photo contest and all-around awesome person.

Joe also pitched in a handmade quill from his desk, which is up for auction, but these copies of his book are going into the lottery.

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This is a great steampunk series, and Liesel was kind enough to send a signed ARC of the first book for the fundraiser. It’d be awesome to receive if you’ve never read it before, or if you’re a huge fan and want to start a collection, so we’ve got it in the lottery for you.

“Schwarz’s debut blossoms with possibilities for a future hinging on the brave and determined Elle, who both loves science and wields Light’s magic” – Publishers Weekly

  • Two Hundred and  Twenty-One Baker Streets: An Anthology of Holmesian Tales Across Time and Space. Signed by Jamie Wyman.

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Here’s a fun little anthology, which allowed authors to write about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in any time or place they’d like. There are stories all over the world, written from all different points of view, and lots of other twists you wouldn’t expect.

  • Auction: Unveiled. Signed by Jamie Wyman and comes with two bookmarks and two challenge coins.

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This is a signed copy of book 2 in Jamie’s Etudes in C# series, and comes with a couple of thematically-appropriate challenge coins..

“Quirky, unique, fast-paced, and with enough geek homages to make me feel at home, it’s a Puck-load of fun.” – Delilah S. Dawson

If you want to bid on the coolness, you can do so over here.

  • A set of The Portals Series: Heart of Briar and Soul of Fire. Both signed by Laura Anne Gilman.

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Laura Anne Gilman is a longtime supporter of Worldbuilders, so we’re happy to be putting her books into the lottery. As it is, her Deadline Cat is up for auction for those of you who love her work and need a little help dealing with deadlines of your own.

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Charitable work seems to come pretty naturally for Eric. All of the royalties he receives from sales of this book are donated to his local food bank. He inscribed these for Worldbuilders, so you’ll be reminded of both charitable actions. All it takes for the chance is your own $10 charitable donation

  • Copies of Little Brother. Signed and inscribed by Cory Doctorow.

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I want to gush about this book, but Neil Gaiman has written one of the most beautiful blurbs for it I’ve ever seen.

“A wonderful, important book…I’d recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I’ve read this year, and I’d want to get it into the hands of as many smart thirteen-year-olds, male and female, as I can. Because I think it’ll change lives.  Because some kids, maybe just a few, won’t be the same after they’ve read it. Maybe they’ll change politically, maybe technologically. Maybe it’ll just be the first book they loved or that spoke to their inner geek. Maybe they’ll want to argue about it and disagree with it. Maybe they’ll want to open their computer and see what’s in there. I don’t know. It made me want to be thirteen again right now, and reading it for the first time.” – Neil Gaiman.

They’re all in the lottery, to spread the love as much as possible.

  • A copy of Stardust. Signed and doodled by Neil Gaiman.

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This copy of Stardust was donated by some awesome fans. Even if you don’t win the Fabled Stardust ARC, you might get your hands on this awesome-and-doodled copy, since it’s in the lottery as well.

  • Copies of Angels & Visitations. Signed by Neil Gaiman.

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We’re tossing one of these awesome, illustrated collections of short stories into the lottery.

This collection has some of Gaiman’s earliest writing in it.  It was published before American GodsNeverwhere, even Smoke and Mirrors, and it was published by Dreamhaven. This is the only place you can find some of his non-fiction from the late 80s and early 90s.

There’s also a copy up for auction, since these are fairly collectible. If you want it, you can bid here.

  • Sets of novellas: Emperor’s Soul and limited edition Legion. Both signed by Brandon Sanderson.

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Brandon’s novellas are great, and these are both stand-alone or first in a series. Legion is one of only 1000 limited editions from Subterranean Press, as well, so it’s a great kit for reading up on some Sanderson.

We’ve also got a set up for auction, so you can bid on those over here.

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Many of you know about Malala Yousafzai already, but for those who don’t: she has been championing women’s rights, human rights, and education since she was 11 years old, writing blogs and giving interviews  She rose to worldwide fame after an assassination attempt in 2012 that left her in critical condition.

After she recovered, she went back to doing her thing again, except twice as hard as before.

She is a bit of a hero of mine. Someone shot her in the head for speaking out, and she got back up and kept trying to change the world.

I’m happy to say that Ms. Yousafzai collected her first Nobel prize just last Wednesday. We’re auctioning off a signed, first edition copy of her book over here.

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Ending this blog with Malala Yousafzai, makes me realize I haven’t talked about one of my favorite things that Heifer does.

Heifer International - Bangladesh. January 2013. Increasing Community Capacity for Holistic Development (ICCHD) Project –I  (Project # 22-0620-08).  Bangladesh, which is a county about the size of Iowa, has around 162 million people.  Nearly 43 percent o

Heifer helps young girls get to go to school.

If your family is poor enough that food is hard to come by, you can’t even consider paying for school fees and books. If a family can only afford to send one child to school, they will almost always choose a boy over a girl. In some places, schooling isn’t even considered for women.

And personally, I think that sucks. If you haven’t noticed, most of the Worldbuilders team is composed of women, and the only reason this whole shindig happens is because of them. They’ve turned this fundraiser from a hot mess of catastrophe-curve enthusiasm into something that works. I never could do this without them.

I think about Malala, and my sister, and Charlotte from the video I posted in yesterday’s blog. I think about my mom. I wish you all could have met her. She remains one of the most generous, kind, and *capable* people I’ve ever known….

And then I think: what would these women have been like if they’d been denied an education because of prejudice or poverty?

Honestly? It horrifies me to think of it. I don’t want to live in that world. Beyond that, I wouldn’t be the person I am if my mother hadn’t raised me. And she wouldn’t have grown into the person she was if she’d never had the chance to go to school.

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Heifer International has long understood that the best way to create sustainable growth is through teaching, and for $275, you can send a young girl to school. $275 dollars gives gives a family the tools, livestock, and training so that they can generate enough income to pay for their daughter’s school fees and supplies.

And that’s not just for a year of school. What Heifer provides a family doesn’t just last, it grows. Chickens produce more chickens. Goats produce more goats. That means that all the years and years to come that family will have the money to pay for tuition, books, paper and uniforms. That one time donation sends a girl to school forever.

Remember Malala Yousafzai up there? One of the reasons someone tried to kill her is because her family runs a chain of schools in a region that frowns on the education of women. Hell, that wins the award for my biggest understatement ever. People went looking for her and shot her in the head so they could send the clear message that women shouldn’t be educated.

Heifer International is changing those attitudes.

With the help of Heifer’s education programs, we’re working to change how people view the value of education for everyone. Ms. Yousafzai is fighting for an important cause. And I’m proud to be part of that fight.

You can be part of it too.

Donate here.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2014 | By Pat7 Responses

Even Yet More Author Donated Books

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

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

On January 21st at midnight, Worldbuilders will be over for another year.

We’ve had a really good week. Just to give y’all some perspective, Worldbuilders has raised more money in the last four days than we did in our our entire first year.

As I write this, our total is a little more than $392,000. So it looks like $400K is well within our grasp. When we hit that, I’m personally donating an extra $100,000 to Heifer International.

Our $450K goal is looking a little distant, though. Which is a shame, as I was really hoping to have an excuse to write a piece of erotica with Amber Benson.

Still, I’ve been surprised before in the final day of the fundraiser….

Remember that if you donate before midnight CST on Jan 21st, you’ve got really amazingly good odds of winning some cool books, including the new ones we’re listing below….

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Some of the coolest books Worldbuilders received this year came from the authors themselves. Today’s batch includes special editions, numbered editions, and a few copies of books that won’t even be hitting the shelves for a couple months.

Remember to thank these authors if you get the chance.  They’re cool people, and they’re helping out Worldbuilders from the goodness of their hearts.

This is a publisher’s copy of the limited edition from Subterranean Press. There were less than 600 of these made, and they’ve  been sold out for some time, but Paolo sent us one of his personal copies for the fundraiser.

“Not since William Gibson’s pioneering cyberpunk classic, Neuromancer (1984), has a first novel excited science fiction readers as much as Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl…” – Washington Post

  • A set of The Dreamblood Series.  Signed by N.K. Jemisin.

“The world is so fully fleshed out that I could breathe its spices, while the story and characters are so much a part of the world that you could not pull this story or these people out and plug them into a different setting. Jemisin proves yet again that she is one of the important new writers in the sff scene.” – Kate Elliott

“Fuller rises to this challenge with great skill in this accomplished, atmospheric and thoughtful novel.” – Amazon.com

This won the National Book Award. And with quotes like this from Peter S. Beagle, you can see why….

Goblin Secrets is a knockout. It’s an original, owing absolutely nothing to Tolkien, or to any of his descendants, disciples or imitators.”  – Peter S. Beagle

“Red Moon is a serious, politically symbolic novel – a literary novel about lycanthropes. If George Orwell had imagined a future where the werewolf population had grown to the degree that they were colonized and drugged, this terrifying novel might be it.”  – John Irving

This one is a big deal, folks.  This is an ARC of a novel that doesn’t come out until May 2013.  He gets bonus points because he taught creative writing here at UWSP.

“Enchanting, fearsome faerie vistas and pinpoint character delineations make Galen’s absorbing quest one to savor and remember.” – Publishers Weekly

  • A set of Devil Said Bang and Aloha From Hell.  Signed by Richard Kadrey.

“Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series is one of my favorite sets of fantasy books from the last few years…” – John Scalzi

“While carefully piecing together the ravaged scraps of his life in a quiet suburb of LA, [Asher Blaine] is arrested for murder […] When he turns to the people he trusted most, he discovers he must convince them not only of his sobriety, but of his innocence.” – Book summary

  • A set of The Fall of Ile-Rien novels.  Signed by Martha Wells.

“Wells…has created a finely detailed world that echoes with not just one culture and people but many. …A story on many levels, part high adventure, part personal story. Tremaine is not a scream and clutch heroine; she is a fascinating character with many facets. Check it out.” – Tulsa World

  • 3 copies of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.  Signed by Jenny Lawson (aka The Blogess).

Amanda’s note: I’ll admit that I didn’t know who Jenny Lawson was a few months ago.  I’d vaguely heard the name “The Blogess” but hadn’t ever wandered over to check out her blog before.  Then Pat had her on Storyboard, and from then on, I was hooked.  She’s hilarious, and socially awkward in all the ways geeks like us can relate to.

We have 3 different copies of this book – two different paperbacks, and a CD audiobook, read by Jenny.  Each one will be put into the lottery as its own prize, and believe me: you won’t be disappointed.  Especially if you enjoy the F-word and stories about taxidermy.

  • A set of The Wild Side, Tales for the Dead of WinterCrimes by Moonlight, and Murder and Mayhem in Muskego.  All signed by Dana Cameron.

Dana sent over a bunch of anthologies she’s been featured in, and signed the title page of each of her stories.  It’s such a cool urban fantasy pack that we figured someone would appreciate having all four.

“This is a very good book, extremely engrossing and entertaining, including a couple of remarkable highlights of superior quality when compared with more celebrated anthologies.” – SF Site, about The Wild Side.

Here is a book that isn’t released until March.   Liesel was kind enough to send over some ARCs, so if you win one, you can read it before your friends do, then taunt them with the fact.

“Urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance: if you want them, you’ve got them in this charged debut.” – Library Journal

Another ARC, and this one doesn’t even come out until April.

“Promise of Blood is a hugely promising debut. Guns, swords, and magic together? What more could you want? How about tense action, memorable characters, rising stakes, and cool, cool magic? Not only the finest flintlock fantasy I’ve read, but also the most fun. Brian McClellan is the real thing.” – Brent Weeks

“Wholly immersive and enchanting…J.G. McKenney has written a gem.” HopelessBibliophile.com

Amanda’s note: It’s also worth noting that J.G. McKenney offers a free novel study unit for Eon’s Door on his website for middle school teachers, which makes him extra cool in my book.


“All writers believe in the magic of books; Jim Hines has created a system where that magic becomes real, usable, and very definitely not always safe.” – Tanya Huff

Amanda’s note: If that blurb isn’t reason enough to love Jim Hines, you may want to check out what he, Pat, and a bunch of our favorite authors did at ConFusion for Jim’s fundraiser.

Yeah.  You can never un-see that.  You’re welcome.

“[An] enjoyable romp […] satisfying to a wide range of middle school readers.” – Publishers Weekly

“For someone who likes reading historical fiction with an intent to learn a little while being entertained perhaps this review will encourage you to give it a try. The author is articulate, imaginative and I hope to see her write more.” – Amazon.com

  • 3 copies of Strangeness in the Proportion.  Signed by Joshua Alan Doetsch.  With toe tag bookmarks.

“Joshua Alan invites readers to the outer edge of surrealism where horror, mythology, stand-up, and Mother Angelica won’t agree to meet, but metabolize in a fantastical and satisfying gumbo. You don’t have a hair on your rumpus if you’re not hipwaggin’ it to be the first in line for the next ladleful.” – Joanna Beth Tweedy

Oathbreaker, Book 1: The Knight’s Tale … is a riveting debut fantasy from an author who knows what fantasy fans love (he wrote adventures for TSR, after all) – visceral prose; logically sound and creative world-building; and fascinating characters that do not follow genre conventions..” – The New Podler Review

“A new star is rising in the fantasy firmament…teems with magic and spine-chilling amounts of skullduggery.” – Dave Duncan

Some of you have been waiting a long time for this one.  There were only 1000 of these made, so we were excited when Brandon sent it, and we’re tossing it into the lottery where anyone who donates can win it.

“Reality and illusion, sanity and insanity, are but subjective labels in this thought-provoking foray into a world where ‘hallucinations’ abound like the Biblical demons the title evokes… The engaging if madcap events of this outre narrative unobtrusively prompt the reader to reflect on the nature of reality.” – Publishers Weekly

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And that’s it.  Our last blog of the fundraiser.  You’ve seen the books, DVDs, CDs, and comics that will be in the lottery, and you have the chance to win just by donating by January 21st at 11:59pm CST.

If you’d like to donate, head over to the Worldbuilders Team Page.

There are a couple of auctions left, including the Favor from Pat.  Check out our current auctions over here.

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 our main page.

Posted in Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat30 Responses
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