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Back in September, I got a piece of fanmail.
By itself, this isn't that strange. A lot of folks contact me using the form on my website. A lot. While there are too many for me to reply to personally these days, I do read them all.
One thing I've learned by reading these messages is that a lot of different people read my book. Subconsciously, I always expect my readers to be like me. That's to say I expect them to be youngish college students who are... well... kinda geeky.
(I know that I'm not *really* a college student anymore, but that's still how I think of myself in my head. After spending 11 years in college, then teaching for a couple years, I don't know if I'll ever be able to think of myself as anything other than a college student. In my head I'm also still in my twenties. And I'm thinner, too.)
But in the last couple years I've learned that not everyone who reads fantasy is a geek. Or at least not the sort of geek that I am. I've been contacted by soldiers in Iraq, lawyers, carpenters, politicians, a cage fighter, police, and aerospace engineers.
Well, the last one isn't so surprising, actually. One of my my best friends in high school grew up to be an aerospace engineer, and we played D&D like nobody's business.
The point is, by this point I should know better than to judge people by their profession. Geeks come in all shapes and sizes, and people aren't defined by their jobs.
So back to the story: It's September of last year, and I get an e-mail from Michael Tremonti. He tells me he's Mark Tremonti's brother and publicist. Apparently, Creed was going to be playing a show in Milwaukee, and they knew I lived in Wisconsin. So Michael was just dropping me a line to see if I'd like to come down, catch the show, and maybe hang out a little.
To be honest, at first I was pretty sure one of my friends had made a fake e-mail account and was screwing around with me. That seemed a lot more likely to me than a rockstar out there reading fantasy books. Aren't Geeks and Rockstars diametrical opposites? Aren't we supposed to be natural enemies in the wild?
It turns out we're not. While e-mailing back and forth with Michael, he told me he and his brother used to play D&D in the basement just like the rest of us.
Again, I didn't believe him. So they sent me this picture.
I am cowed by the might of your geekery, Mark. And I hereby promise never to question anyone's geek heritage ever again. Not just D&D. But AD&D. That's the real stuff. Back when the game was badass and you had to roll for things like parasitic infection when you traveled through a swamp.
Unfortunately, I couldn't make it down to the show. This was back in September, and Sarah was big with baby. I knew if I drove down to Milwaukee, she'd go into labor. I was absolutely sure of it.
Still, we stayed in touch, and when I was starting to gather prizes for Worldbuilders, I dropped Michael a line and asked if they might be interested in donating a couple of signed CDs or something.
He replied, "How about we just give you a guitar instead?"
"What?" I said.
Thanks so much, Michael and Mark. This is really going above and beyond...
I have to say, all rockstar coolness aside, this is a really gorgeous guitar. Holding it, I was filled with a great desire to rock out.
Here's the link to the auction.
This sort of thing is kinda unexplored territory for the fundraiser, as until now we've focused mostly on books and book-related stuff. So I'd appreciate it if y'all could help me spread the word a little bit. And sooner would be better than later, as the auction ends on January 15th.
Money raised by Worldbuilders goes to Heifer International, which helps people all over the world raise themselves up out of poverty and starvation. If you'd like to donate directly you can head over to my page at Team Heifer and I'll match your donation by 50%. Trust me. You'll feel great afterward.
Or, if you want more information about the Worldbuilders fundraiser itself, you can head to the main page HERE.
With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.