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01 June 2014 @ 10:40 pm
One of my favorite interactions with jaylake: After he attended the 2007 WorldCon in Japan, he posted a picture of a car lot with a ferris wheel to his LJ and said it was story material. Challenged to prove it, he posted an opening paragraph of a story about Yokohama Sid and his Used Ferris Wheel lot. For fun, I added a short paragraph on the character Sid.
Jay posted both to his blog with an open invitation to all to add to the effort and many people did.

After a few days, I looked at the various pieces and said "I think there's a story here", ordered the parts, added a little text as spackle and paint, and mailed it to him. He gave the resulting group story feature time on the LJ. Enjoying collaboration, openly sharing ideas, and embracing the result - I think it says a lot about Jay. It was also one of the most fun experiences I've had writing.

Here's the resulting story, a blast from the past and a fond memory:

- yeff
22 April 2013 @ 06:59 pm
Quick followup to the Scholastic Education reprint request I mentioned a couple days ago (

The contact arrived and specified an amount. And that amount was ... $500! (yes, five hundred dollars).

Nice! My best sale ever.

And I do have to say that I went to the Viable Paradise community for advice on reimbursement and possible amount and they were spot on with the advice. Yet another reason to attend Viable Paradise - a great community who know what they are talking about.

Hm. Now that it looks like a story of mine will be in a middle-grade reader, perhaps I should get cooking on that YA steampunk fairytale novel that's sitting in the story trunk. Write it for the fun of writing it, and you never know what could happen after that...
21 April 2013 @ 03:59 pm
Went to ROBOGAMES 2013 yesterday ( with my younger daughter, my brother-in-law, and his 5-year-old son. Everyone involved had a great time checking out the variety of robot activities available.

The main focus of ROBOGAMES is the "Combat Arena", a large space (30x30?) surrounded by see-through plastic walls on all sides and covered with a roof structure (for lights, etc) and clear material as well. There were bleachers on three sides of the arena and they were full throughout the day with people watching the battles.

Middleweight (up to 60 lbs) and Heavyweight (up to 220 lbs) battles were held in the arena. These are very impressive. Most robots are squat and square (low center of gravity) and either try to flip their opponent (using an inclined front like the cow catcher on a train, sometimes with a extra hydraulic shove) or slam the opponent into the metal bars around the arena (using a blunt front) or simply thrash their opponent (saw blades were very popular). The top machine we saw was "Last Rites" which featured a blunt rotating 75-lb "blade" in the front. It absolutely destroyed "Vlad The Impaler II", an armored box which was a flipper. And I mean DESTROYED. Parts were flying everywhere, making us happy for the plastic walls.

It wasn't all about robot destruction. There were also art exhibits, robots wandering the floors, maze solving robots, robot soccer, robot "wrestling" (the small Lucha Libre robot was one of my favorites), and lego mindstorms competitions with younger kids.

All in all, a great day that was a heck of a lot of fun. I'm still perusing how one might design a combat robot that could actually survive a match and maybe even inflict some damage. And I'd highly recommend ROBOGAMES for the robot enthusiast in your family.
I just received a reprint request from Scholastic Education for one my stories. They'd like to use the story in a reading curriculum targeted at middle school students (grade 6-8), encouraging them to explore writing (a good cause).

The conversation was short and didn't mention pay rate, but they are sending me the paperwork to review. Being a good VP graduate I intend to make sure I'm getting paid for the reprint.

So, my questions are:
- Has anyone ever sold a reprint to a market like this before?
- If so, what did you get paid?
- Any reason I shouldn't expect payment for the reprint?

In the lack of any feedback, I plan to ask for 5 cents/word. I figure that everyone else associated with the material (including Scholastic) is being paid, thus I should be paid too. 5 cents/word seems reasonable.

As a note, the reading curriculum mentioned to me was "Code X" and I believe it's the one mentioned on this page at the Scholastic website:

Any thoughts would be appreciated,

- yeff
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19 April 2013 @ 08:25 pm
I just was randomly thinking about livejournal and decided to stop on by. It's been a while.

In the almost 2 years since I last posted here, I've:
- Played a lot of Australian Rules Football and injured myself a few times (including now)
- Run a ton of math contests for kids under the name SACMATH (
- Sent a daughter off to college (at UC Berkeley)
- Read a bunch
- Left HP for a job at Schilling Robotics (

The last is the most excellent change. I've been at Schilling two months and enjoying it tremendously.

And I've even been thinking about writing again. But I've said that before and action speaks louder than words, so nothing more there. I do have a writing-related question, but that will go in another post.

Just to say that life is going well, and I'm enjoying it.

I hope that everyone else in this LiveJournal part of the world is doing well too!

- yeff
Early 80s ("Sign of the Times"): new wave, sharp lines, black-and-white, hats, think Boy George and Thompson Twins

Mid-80s ("The Clapping Song"): mod, tropical, scarves, patters, think Fun Boy Three and Bananarama

Late 80s ("Iko Iko"): spandex, workout, funky shoes, bright colors, hip-hop-style clothes and dancing, think MC Hammer

And there you are. After randomly watching the first video, I just had to get that out of my head.
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24 August 2011 @ 10:08 pm
is a irradiated, boiled humanoid covered in simulated snot and blood.

I felt ill just *typing* that sentence!

[In case the video doesn't show, the link is]

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So after yesterday's proclaimed re-dedication to making time for writing, I'm at a little bit of an impasse today.

Work has been a bunch of fire drills recently, and today I was still trying to make sure I knew what fires were left and what was being done to douse them (along with lending a hand myself).

Thus it's 1030 at night and I'm still doing work. At home, at least, but remote connected to work and pushing away.

I did do some very nice thinking about stories on the way to/from work today, and decided that my first two tasks are a quick cleanup of "A Mind Of Their Own" (flash fiction) and a rework of "Silver, Seven Ways" (short story). [If you can guess the plot of "Silver, Seven Ways" from the title, I will be impressed.]

But in order to keep the creative writing juice tap open, I present the SciFiCountry Challenge! Here's how it works: take a country song, change title and lyric to make it sci fi, post title and a lyric here.

My contribution (also tweeted and Facebook'd) is:
_Phobos Prison Blues_
with the altered lyric: "But I spaced a man on Venus / Just to watch him die."

Join in! Have fun!
21 August 2011 @ 11:06 pm
Drove up to Reno on Friday after work, getting there about 7pm. Checked in, cleaned up, then went to the suite for the VP party along with the drinks I brought.

VP party was excellent! It was great to see all the Elevensies friends and the cool VPers from other classes, and to meet plenty of new VP people. I broke all my rules about drinking at parties: too much, too late, too many different things, and not enough food. But I had a blast, finally stumbling out of the party about 230 am and then running into Mark Teppo (my VPXI roomie) as he was coming back from the Atlantic parties.

Saturday (once I made it out of bed) was panels, on either writing, space exploration, or movies. I also did much saying hello to people as I ran into them. Dinner was buffet with VP in the crazy restaurant in the Peppermill that was RainforestCafe/TikiRoom without any animals.

Hugo awards were a lot of fun! Jay Lake and Ken Scholes did a wonderful job as hosts, and the emotional and personal acceptance speeches from many of the award winners made for a touching time.

After the Hugos, the VP gang had our own "Hugo Watchers" party which devolved into talking about writing, getting very silly, and eventually laughing our heads off.

Sunday was breakfast with the gang, a couple panels, then a goodbye to Reno and Worldcon and a drive back home.

Summary: Awesome. I have let the scifi-nerd-writer side of me languish for quite a while. Going to Worldcon was about putting my toes back into that water and seeing if there was still something there for me. There is. All the things that have happened over the last 1.5-2.5 years, to pull me away from writing and cons, haven't dimmed my enjoyment of the art and the people. What's left for me is to figure out how to somehow fit writing into my now incredibly busy life. But I want to write again, and I also have the tribe that will be holding me accountable!

So over the next week I'll take stock, see what's up with all the stories, update the old submissions and writing spreadsheet, and do some basic attempts at writing and editing again. Then it's time to move forward! At a much slower space, but still. Forward.
Portlanders --

Here's your chance to come see some Australian Rules Football!!

The Stumptown Throwdown tournament is happening on Saturday, June 25, from (roughly) 10-5 at Northgate Park on North Fessendon Street.

Tournament details are available at the website of the Portland Steelheads, the local Aussie Rules Football team:

Aussie Rules Football is a crazy, fast-paced, high-scoring, sport that mixes all the best elements of all the best sports. It's also a heck of a lot of fun!

I will be present, playing as a member of the Golden Gate Roos. So you can come see me run around like a maniac, and learn about one of reasons I don't post on LJ or write much (at all).

If you do come by, come say hi!