LEGO

Lego Transformers (aka, Jim has a Geekgasm)

The not-a-raffle has raised more than $900 for rape crisis centers so far!  I’ll be picking a winner on 4/16, which means there’s still time for us to push that amount past the $1000 mark.

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There was more I intended to blog about today, but none of that matters anymore, because I have seen this:

A Flickr user named Orion Pax built Optimus Prime out of Lego.  A transforming Optimus Prime.  Click the pic or this link for the full set of Pax’s Lego Transformers.

Oh yes, I said Transformers plural, including Grimlock, Soundwave, Starscream … I think I’m in love.

My over-the-top squeeing aside, check out the details on this thing.  I didn’t even believe it was all Lego at first.  Prime’s fingers?  Blue legs from minifigs.  Windshield wipers are a pair of Lego harpoon guns.  The gun, the matrix, Roller … I just … wow.

I now know what I want for my birthday next week.

Friday Updates

Sunday (3/28) at 2:00, I’ll be speaking at the Portage District Library.  There will be a public interview with John Wenger of Kazoo Books, some reading, some open Q&A, and some book selling/signing.  So a little bit of everything.  Stop by and say hi if you’re in the neighborhood.

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The full results from my novel survey are now posted at my web site.  This write-up includes a link to the raw data (third paragraph), for those who wanted to check it out.  I’m delighted with the number of people who participated, and with the results of the study … but I’m also glad to be done with it for now.

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Author Steven Saus, my roommate at Millennicon, took my data and ran it through some heavy-duty stats software and has started posting his own results (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), including this nifty graph showing the changing trend over time from submitting-to-the-publisher to submitting-to-the-agent.

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Thanks to everyone who offered their thoughts on the raffle vs. auction discussion.  Those who raised the legal issues were right to do so.  Michigan requires a permit to run a raffle, and as an individual I’m not allowed to apply for that permit.  However, it doesn’t sound like what I want to do actually qualifies as a raffle, though I’m not 100% sure — I’ve received different answers depending on who I talk to.

I think I know how I’m going to do this, and I’m hopeful it will work out well.  Will post the details next week.

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And because it’s Friday, have a LEGO shot.  This is the entrance to a dwarven mine, built by Tom Snellen.  Click the pic for the full gallery and close-ups, including a shot of that wizard and what looks like a goblin helper.  (Okay, it’s an orc, but only because LEGO hasn’t gotten around to making goblin minifigs yet.  A real goblin would already be back in his lair enjoying a bowl of wizard stew.)

Friday Roundup

I posted yesterday that I didn’t know when I’d be able to share the cover art for Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon].  The answer, apparently, was “very, very soon.”  I spotted the cover at B&N, then received a cleaner copy from DAW.  Click the thumbnail for a larger version.

As noted before, we had to switch artists in mid-series.  This was done by Mel Grant (who also did my goblin covers).  The cover for Mermaid remains my favorite, but I think he did a great job making sure it was recognizable and consistent with the earlier books.

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I also asked yesterday whether an anime-style Snoopy fighting cat ninjas would be awesome or terrifying.  socchan took up the challenge, and the answer is: Awesome!!!

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Page proofs for Red Hood have also arrived.  I know how I’ll be spending my evenings for the next few weeks.  (But this means I should be able to post a sample chapter from the book soon!)

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Thank you to everyone who suggested titles for book four.  After talking to my editor, the final title will be:

The Snow Queen’s Shadow

The Snow Queen’s Snare was a close runner-up, but didn’t quite fit the plot as well.  Shadow was suggested almost simultaneously by two users on LJ and my jimchines.com blog, so I’ve decided to name them both winners.  Congrats to miladygrey and Sewicked.  I’ll be e-mailing you about your prizes!

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Finally, because I haven’t done one in a little while, a LEGO piano by catarino.  I used to play piano, and I love the detail on this thing.  Check this closeup of the keys, or just click the image below for more shots of the piano and catarino’s other work.

File-sharing Follow-up and Friday LEGO

So on Tuesday we had an all-nighter at the E.R.  Last night my four-year-old got sick.  This week officially bites the wax tadpole.

I did have two follow-ups to yesterday’s post on e-book file sharing.

1.  It’s almost a rule on the Internet: Don’t read the comments.  Particularly with something like book piracy, it’s easy to get into rabid nastiness.  Instead, once again people were thoughtful, respectful, and flat-out smart in your comments and conversation yesterday.  Thank you for that.  Y’all are awesome.

2.  One of the questions that keeps coming up is “How can someone be against file sharing but not against libraries and used bookstores and people loaning books out to all of their friends?”  Inspired in part by the discussion over on Facebook, I came up with this:

When you buy a paper book, you purchase a physical object that you now own.  It’s a thing, and you can do whatever you like with it — keep it, burn it, give it away, sell it, etc.  With an electronic book, there’s no physical object.  With file sharing, you’re not sharing a single object that you’ve purchased and now own; instead, you’re distributing that book.  You basically set up a competing “publisher,” one which takes the work done by the actual publisher, then distributes the end product for free.

Again, a lot of good points from yesterday’s comments, but the used bookstore/library question has always nagged at me, and hopefully this clarifies why.  (I know it helped me to sort some things out in my own head.)

And that’s about all my brain is good for today, so here, have some LEGO.  Most of you should recall the Nebulon-B Medical Frigate from the end of Empire Strikes Back?  Steef de Prouw has done it in LEGO.  This thing is amazing, over four feet long, with little docked X-wings and even the Millennium Falcon.  Click the pic for the full photo set.

Windycon Schedule Tweak and Friday LEGO

• Looking at my schedule for this weekend more closely, I’m doing the writing workshop at the same time as the DAW vs. Baen panel, so unless we have last-minute dropouts from the workshop, it looks like I’ll be missing that panel.  I’m sad about this, because it had the potential to be … well, lively, if nothing else.

• Since I am doing the “What Kids are Reading” panel on Sunday, I thought I’d open things up to suggestions.  What do you think are the must-read kid titles of 2009?  I’ve got some ideas, but there’s always room for more.  (I may compile a full list of suggested books after the panel and post that next week, if folks would be interested?)

• My annual domestic violence book drive will be starting next week.  Details to come.

• Finally, dear NASA — please build this.  (Only, you know, out of genuine spaceworthy materials instead of LEGO.)  This is the Carl Sagan, a mindblowing collaborative project between Lego Monster and Mad Physicist.  It even has its own shuttles!  One picture does not do this sucker justice.  Click the pic for the full set.

Friday Updates

• As insane as this week has been at work, it’s been a very good writing week.  I just found out that my German publisher is picking up both Mermaid’s Madness and Red Hood’s Revenge.  Excellent!

• Also exciting, Red Hood’s Revenge is up for pre-order on Amazon!  I’m told it’s been there for a few weeks, which shows how distracted I’ve been.  Normally my obsessive surfing habits would have uncovered that much more quickly.

• Neil Gaiman has given me permission to make T-shirts of my 20 Neil Gaiman Facts.  All that remains is to decide where.  I’m leaning toward Zazzle over CafePress, but I’m open to suggestions–any experiences with these or other online vendors, good or bad?

• Based on your responses, I’ll definitely be doing the 2009 SF/F Humor Roundup.  It shouldn’t take too long to put together; I just need to make the time to sit down and do it.  Hopefully by this time next week…

• Finally, your weekly LEGO.  Anyone who’s seen Howl’s Moving Castle should recognize this one, built by Imagine’s Brickzone.  (And anyone who hasn’t should go rent the movie.)  Click the pic for the full Flickr set, including a better view of Turnip Head there on the right.

October Madness

Note to self: trying to do the new book release in the same month that you’re doing final revisions on another book means twice the crazy. Add in a sick boy (finally feeling better), car trouble, daughter’s soccer season, and a host of other random encounters, and the crazy has jumped exponentially.

I did not need extra crazy. I have plenty already, thank you.

I’ll be spending today trying to box up extra crazy and return it to sender.  In the meantime, check out one of the coolest LEGO Flickr sets ever, courtesy of captainsmog: the Unseen University Library and other Discworld characters & images, all recreated in LEGO.

You know you want to click and see the full set.

Book Biting Day

1. It’s official. Comparing my web stats to my royalty statements, it looks like more people have read my list of 20 Neil Gaiman Facts than have read my actual books. (Thanks in no small part to a link from StumbleUpon last week.) This is why Red Hood’s Revenge shall include the following cover text: “From the author of Goblin Quest 20 Neil Gaiman Facts!”

2. I’m going to be chatting over at Bitten By Books today. This is not a fixed time event. Stop by any time during the day or evening and leave your questions and chat. Click on over to check it out, say hi, and get in on the prize drawing (anthologies aplenty and a set of goblin minis): http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=11707

3. Finally, check out mcmorran’s LEGO Dr. Who Flickr set. He built a LEGO Tardis and Dr. Who, and added them to various exhibits at a LEGO con. Click the link or the pic to see the full set.

Thursday Bullets

Not feeling so great this morning. I don’t have time to get sick, dangit! But this means you get the bullet-point blog post today.

• My agent e-mailed me my latest royalties statement, and all three goblin books have earned out their advances!  Can I get a Booya?  To everyone who bought and shared the books, thank you so much!  It looks like Stepsister will likely follow suit, but not until the Reserve Against Returns decreases a bit more.

• The caption contest is still running strong, and there are some seriously entertaining entries already, mostly on the LJ post.

• I donated an autographed copy of The Stepsister Scheme [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy] to an auction to raise money for MSU Safe Place, the local Domestic Violence shelter where I used to work as the male outreach coordinator.  Bidding starts at $15 here and runs through October 9.

 • Since I’ve gotten into the habit of wrapping up these random blog posts with LEGO, have a LEGO Star Wars chess set, courtesy of icgetaway.  Click the picture below for the full photo set.

Thursday has a Prize Inside

• Holy crap!  Some time this week, I hit the 1000 friends mark on LJ.  This calls for a book giveaway!  I used random.org to pick a winner: #676.  I then realized that counting through the list to figure out who #676 was would be a major headache, but fortunately, plugging ’em into Excel proved to be quicker.  Congratulations, patesden!  Would you please e-mail me at jim -at- jimchines.com to let me know which of my books you’d like and where to sent it?

dragovianknight made two LJ icons, and gave me permission to share them here.  ::Happy dance::

 

• Last night was my daughter’s first day of soccer practice, so I was out entertaining the boy at the park while she practiced, which means I didn’t have time to think up anything for today’s post.  So instead, check out this LEGO Demonic Castle by einsteinonthebeach.  Click the link or the picture for details.  This thing is mind-blowing and seriously twisted.  Minifigs bathing in LEGO blood falls?  Evil genius.

Jim C. Hines