LEGO

Winners and Lego

I’m a little late drawing winners for the Huff and Brennan giveaways.  Sorry about that!  It was the first thing I did this morning.  Okay, the second if you count heating up some leftover French toast.  Third if you include feeding the animals, but if I didn’t do that the cats would still be yowling at me.  And technically, I also–

Oh, never mind.  Congratulations to ambyr, who won A Star Shall Fall, and bkwrrm_tx, who’ll be getting The Enchantment Emporium.  (Winners picked by Random.org from everyone who entered on the various comment threads.)

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I really liked this build when I first saw it a week or so back.  Flickr user pirate_cat built the rescue of the Chilean miners out of LEGO.

Click the picture for the full set.

Thursday Links

1. A Michigan school is refusing to allow a transgender student to be homecoming king.  Even though this student received the most votes, he is listed in the school’s records as female, and therefore the school administration says he is ineligible.  Personally, I hope the school gets idiot-slapped for this.  But I keep thinking to myself, those kids elected an openly transgender student as their homecoming king.  I can’t imagine that happening when I was in high school 20 years ago.  Change is a slow thing, but this gives me hope … for the kids, if not for the adults.

2. The Sorting Hat: Which Kind of Activist Are YouYonmei‘s piece explores the different approaches to confrontation and activism, and touches a bit on what I talked about in Anger vs. Reason.  Only Yonmei uses Harry Potter references, and came up with a much more entertaining post.

3. Getting Published is Not a Crap Shoot.  I’ve said this before, on many occasions.  Writer Beware says the same thing.  I take this as official proof that I’m right, so from now on, anyone who refers to publishing as a lottery, crap shoot, or any other gambling metaphor shall immediately be booted in the head.

4. Empire Strikes Back Chess Set, by icgetaway.  Because it is awesome.  This is a sequel to his Star Wars chess set, which I linked to a while back.  Click the pic or link for the full photo set on Flickr.

Thursday Miscellany

I’ll be at the Durand Fantasy Expo this Saturday, for anyone in the area.

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I missed a friend promo yesterday, ’cause my brain sucks.  Yesterday was the release date for my friend Deborah Blake‘s new nonfiction book Witchcraft on a Shoestring [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon].

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Fixing one problem with a car should not require trips to four separate car repair places.  I’m just saying…

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Signal boost from cloudscudding from yesterday’s post:

I just launched “The Circus of Brass and Bone”, an apocalyptic steampunk serial story and podcast that follows a circus traveling through the collapse of civilization.  I’m doing this to raise money for my mother’s cancer treatment–she was diagnosed with Stage3c ovarian and endometrial cancer while working at a school in India, so she doesn’t have health insurance. Coming back to the United States for treatment means both my parents had to give up their jobs,too.  And because of their choice of careers–helping others–they don’t have much in the way of savings to fall back on.  All donations go to pay for my mother’s cancer treatment and related costs.

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Finally, I haven’t done a LEGO bit in a little while.  My Facebook friend Karen Gould sent me a link to her husband’s recreations of medieval castles in LEGO. What makes this especially cool is that he’s done Harlech Castle, which was my starting point when I designed Whiteshore Palace where Danielle et al. from the princess books live.

Whiteshore Palace is, well, white, and I modified the scale and design a bit, but this is probably the closest I’m going to get to a LEGO set for one of my worlds.  Click the pic for more.

Lego Puppet

On Thursday, my wife and I will be flying out to Nevada for a good friend’s wedding, so blogging may be a bit sparse for the next week.  The trip should be fun.  Things like packing and figuring out how to get from point A to point 12 and what airport security is going to say about my wife’s walker, not so much.

It’s been over a decade since I lived in Nevada.  I’m looking forward to seeing some friends again.  Any tips for surviving airport madness?

In the meantime, LEGO Puppet. 

Because, come on — LEGO puppet!  This is Gazebo, and he was built by Doctor Mobius.  You can click on the link or thumbnail for more pics, but I’d recommend checking out the video first for the full effect.  I was much amused.

Thursday Linkage

“Tor.com is afraid of nothing.  Except goblins.  And Cthulhu.”  And this is why the goblin series was published by DAW, not Tor 🙂  (Link and commentary from M’jit.)

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SFWA has created a Sample DMCA Generator for authors, with instructions. 

“Legally, DMCA notices must come from the copyright owner or their legal representative, such as an agent, publisher, or literary executor. Since SFWA legally cannot act on behalf of anyone from whom we do not have specific permission for a specific infringement, we are instead providing a sample DMCA notice generator for use by authors…”

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Maurice Broaddus on The PC Challenges of Being an Editor.

“At no point did I worry about any sort of “PC testing” of my table of contents (will I have enough POC?  Will there be any women?).  That’s a ridiculous way to go about putting together an anthology.  The other reason it was a non-worry?  It’s not that difficult to produce a table of contents that has diversity.  Now I’m not even talking about forcing the issue of diversity in a TOC.   I’m saying that these days you have to almost go out of your way to produce an anthology without diversity.”

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Finally, combining two great tastes that taste great together, have some LEGO steampunk.  Click the pic for a close-up.  This was created by V&A Steamworks.  Click here for more of their LEGO steampunk creations.

Notes From a Booksigning

Thanks to everyone who came out to Schulers last night!  I hope you all enjoyed yourself.  Thanks also to the staff at the store, particularly Emily, who did the planning and prep work.

I’m told they ordered 50 copies of Red Hood’s Revenge.  By the end of the night, I believe there were two left.  Booksignings can be hit or miss, but I’m counting this one as a solid win.  As always, it was a bit of a blur, but here are some of the things I remember:

1. Jim C. Hines, demonstrating his professional writing skills, attempts to spell Linda’s name with a “Th”.  Sigh.

2. Seeing my parents pick up the book for the first time, and their reactions when they discovered I had dedicated it to them.  (Followed by Emily’s comment, “And you’re making them buy their own copy???”)

3. The following exchange:

“Can you sign these for charity?”
Jim: “Sure!  So you just want an autograph, then?  No dedication?”
“Um … I was kind of hoping you could sign them to me, Charity.”
Jim: “D’oh!”

4. My son coming up to sit on my lap at the end of the night and announcing “I want to sign a book!”

5. Seeing everyone — friends, coworkers, family, and strangers — who came out to hear me read and get a book signed.  (Or maybe just to eat pizza.)

Someday I’ll learn how to balance wanting to talk to everyone with the need to keep the line moving.  Still working on that…

The downside to the evening was coming home and banning someone from my LiveJournal.  Much as I enjoyed the booksigning, I’m still an introvert.  I can be “on” for an event, but leaves me drained afterward, and I just didn’t have the sporks to deal with this person.

I suppose I should be grateful that the False Reporting post was ban-free for the first 200 comments, but I still hate doing it.

But enough of that.  The signing was a blast, and we sold the heck out of my books, so I’m gonna hold on to that feeling.  Dr. Phil, who braved thunderstorms to drive out from Kalamazoo, posted a few pictures of the event.  I like the “reading faces” one 🙂

And because I haven’t done one in a little while, here’s a LEGO pic for the Futurama fans.  Behold the World of Tomorrow, by Pepa Quin.  Click here or on the photo for the full collection.

LEGO Monster Chess

Free book!  T. J. Bronley is giving away a copy of Goblin Quest over on his blog.  Leave a comment by midnight on June 23 to enter.  Thanks, T.J.!

You’ve also got a few days left to win an autographed book from me.  Details here (or on LJ).

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Okay, this is the first LEGO build I’ve posted that truly scares me.  This is Monster Chess.  Built by Team Hassenplug, this chess set features thirty-two robot pieces (plus spares), each working independently.  It cost about $30K to build, and includes more than 100,000 pieces.  The board is a little over 12′ on a side.

I am now convinced that Skynet could win the war using nothing but LEGO-built Terminators.  These pieces move out of each other’s way, they reset the board … how long until they learn to build and repair their own pieces?  How long until these LEGObots become the dominant species, and humanity is reduced to hiding in the shadows?  Mount a sniper rifle on those things, and it’s game over, man.  Game over!

Check out the Hassenplug page for more of their projects.

Almost there! Stay on target…

I’m so close to wrapping up the second draft of The Snow Queen’s Shadow … meaning my brain has little room for anything except getting through these final few scenes.  It took a supreme act of willpower to not call in sick today so I could finish.

There’s still a lot of work left to do on this thing.  Basically, I need to splice in another full plotline and do a lot more worldbuilding.  I’m also trying to make sure I include closure for plot threads from the entire series, not just from this book.

This is the second series I’ve finished.  I’m proud of how I wrapped things up with Goblin War, but the the princess series is a little more complex.  Not to mention having three times the protagonists.  But I’m feeling fairly confident.  The book isn’t there yet, but I have an idea what I need to do to get it there.

So while I obsess over trying to write the perfect ending, enjoy this functional LEGO sniper rifle, built by Jack Streat.  I’d probably want to double the rubber bands to get better range, but still — this thing has a working clip, tripod, and scope, and appears to be pretty darn accurate for a LEGO rifle.  (Thanks to Steven Saus for the link.)

Miscellany

In addition to well over 100 comments on yesterday’s MZB Fanfiction write-up, I’ve received a number of e-mails on the subject.  Some thanking me for the research, others telling me I’m wrong about one or more details.  That’s very possible.  Heck, it’s probable.  First-hand accounts are often slanted, and (as was brought up in the comments) there may be settlement terms keeping some information quiet.  My write-up is the best I’ve been able to research, but please keep in mind that we don’t know everything, and probably never will.

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I discovered today, via a Twitter update from my agent, that Goblin Quest [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] is in its 5th printing.  Not bad for a little goblin runt and his pet fire-spider!

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Penguin just sent me 4000 bookmarks for Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon].  Please contact me if:

  1. You’ll be going to a convention in the next few months, and would be willing to leave bookmarks on the freebies table.
  2. You work at/run a bookstore, and would like bookmarks for your store.
  3. Neither of the above, but you live in the U.S. and just want a Red Hood bookmark.  (In this case, I’ll probably send a handful or so and ask that you hand a few out to anyone you think might like the books.)

I’m also happy to autograph one for you, if you’re interested.

Thus endeth the promotional part of today’s blog post.

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Finally, over on YouTube, we get a sneak peek at the new line of LEGO toys.  (I don’t generally embed video in the blog, so I apologize in advance if I mess it up.)

Friday LEGO

Quick blog post today before setting off for Penguicon this afternoon.  Hoping to see some of you there!

Assuming the schedule doesn’t change, I’ll be doing a five-hour panel block Saturday afternoon.  If I crash the author signing at 6:00, it’ll be six hours nonstop.  Should be interesting to see how coherent I am by the end of the day!

I’m also doing a reading on Sunday with Sarah Monette and Pat Rothfuss, which should be fun.  I’m still trying to decide which bit to read out of Red Hood’s Revenge.

Unrelated to Penguicon, I have web site envy.  I mentioned the book Feed yesterday.  Today, the Feed Book site launched.  ‘Tis most nifty.

Finally, your Friday LEGO, courtesy of Mrs. Monster.  Click here or on the picture for the full set.  (She’s also done Marvin the Martian, among others!)

Jim C. Hines