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(Posting delayed due to being at a soccer tournament in Santa Cruz all weekend.)

Voting on the Hugos! I haven't done it in quite a few years. I view it as another symbol that I'm getting back into the writing groove. I read everything and voted on everything. It took a while. The two Puppy voting blocs meant that there were some different types of works nominated. Some of them I enjoyed, some I didn't, and that reflected in my final voting. I really did try to be fair to the nominated works and read and evaluate them separately from my feelings about the campaigns to stuff the nominations ballot. I'll put my actual Hugo Voting results into a later post.

Writing proceeds, with stories on submission getting replies and going back out. More details on that in a "writing status" post, slated for later this evening.

- yeff
Visiting my brother and his family in Dallas over the weekend. I haven't seen all of them since we all went on a cruise together a few years ago. I haven't seen my new niece (18 months old) at all.

We had a nice time. We didn't do a lot, mostly hung out together. That was great. The new niece is a hoot! She's a *massive* dinosaur fan, so I brought her a small set of plush dinosaurs with a carrying egg. We spent much time playing dinosaurs. By "Playing Dinosaurs" I mean she gave me a dinosaur and said "DINOSAUR!". And then we repeated that. A lot. We also played trucks and trains for a while. She's an active kid.

Also spent time with my niece and nephew who are 9 and 11. It was good to reconnect with them, they are fun and bright and cool. Also with my sister-in-law, who is a super-duper geek girl and great with the nerdy pop culture.

Overall, a wonderful visit and I look forward to seeing them again soon.

- yeff
Hm. I can't say there was any specific item making me happy, but I am in a generally good mood. Work going well. Recovering from back injury and playing a little tag footy. Writing a few days a week and submitting stories.

Overall, not too shabby. So I guess that could be making me happy in itself!
17 July 2015 @ 09:55 pm
Recently, Baen.com came out with the collection "The Year's Best Military SF & Space Opera 2014". Military SF and Space Opera are two genres that the Sad Puppy effort stated were not usually nominated for the Hugos. Finding the best stories of genres such as these and getting them nominated for the Hugos was one of the stated reasons for the Sad Puppy slate. Baen.com is a publisher that the Sad Puppy effort felt was deliberately excluded from the Hugo nominations.

Given this collection is a Baen.com-approved opinion of the best Military SF and Space Opera, what does the overlap between the collection and the Hugo nominated stories (most if not all from the Sad Puppy ballot) turn out to be?

Zero stories.

Two writers in the collection are on the Hugo ballot. One is nominated for Best Related Work, but not for a work of fiction. The one writer who is in the collection and on the Hugo ballot for fiction is Brad Torgersen.

In the collection are three stories from Baen.com and one from Analog. There are also two stories each from Asimov's and F&SF and one story each from Lightspeed and Clarkesworld along with other publishers.

"Year's Best Military SF and Space Opera"
(Amazon) http://www.amazon.com/Years-Best-Military-Space-Opera/dp/1476780587/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437195415&sr=8-1&keywords=years+best+military+science+fiction
(Powell's) http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9781476780580-2

- yeff
* Feedly (feedly.com)

I read a fair amount of blogs and/or websites and going through them site by site is a pain. I finally found feedly, which combines all the RSS feeds into one feed in my feedly account. It also has an iOS app. I now find that I'm actually reading less articles, but reading the articles I want to read more. Recommended.

* 1632, by Eric Flint

The first book in Eric Flint's series about a West Virginia town that is transported back to 1632 Germany in the midst of the Thirty Years War. It's a fun enjoyable read that actually has some political and social aspects as well, as a bunch of Americans assimilate (or *don't* assimilate) into seventh-century near-feudal Europe. I'm using it as a palate cleanser when I struggle with my Hugo reading.

- yeff
(this seems to be the only post I can get out for the week, but it's something)

The USA Women's Soccer Team! They had a clunky start in pool play and looked out of sorts. But once they got to the knockout round, they got stronger and stronger every game, against increasingly better teams (Columbia, China, Germany).

It culminated in the astounding domination of the first 16 minutes versus Japan, which was just some amazing, pressing, relentless soccer that could easily have been 6-0. You could tell that Japan was thinking "what the heck is going on here?!?!" Kudos to Japan for surviving that onslaught and coming back to play some nice soccer and put a couple goals in.

Watched the games and cheered along with my soccer-playing daughters. Hopefully they got some nice inspiration from the power of the USA Women's Team!
Current Mood: thrilled
"The Dybbuk's Moll" got a "good no" from tor.com, making it to second reads!

Thanks so much for submitting to Tor.com, and for your patience while we evaluated your story. Unfortunately, "The Dybbuk's Moll" is not quite right for us.

Like all good stories that we enjoy reading from beginning to end, this is difficult to reject. But sadly whether we like a story is only part of the criteria used for retaining it. This made it to second reads, but even though we found it entertaining, we didn't love it. An insider tip about Tor.com: most of us want to sympathize with the characters most of the time, so this protagonist probably has a better chance telling his story to another magazine--we wish him the best of luck.

Thanks for the opportunity to consider this, and we'll be happy to see what you send us next!

The protagonist is most certainly not sympathetic, so I can live with this response. Especially after the "very good no" from F&SF. And whenever I write "Nora Gets A Golem", it's definitely going to tor.com first.

So it's off to the next potential destination, once I find a place that's willing to look at a 10,000 word Jewish dark fantasy noir story...

- yeff
Just got back from a week with the family at the Oregon Shakespeare in Ashland, Oregon.

Saw 8 plays, went white water rafting, had some good meals, walked 5-6 miles per day, relaxed and slept. Even had some writing ideas.

Favorite plays:
- Long Day's Journey Into Night (great play and acting but FRAKKING BLEAK)
- Guys and Dolls (classic musical, very well done)
- Head Over Heels (16th century comedy with the songs of The Gogos as music)
- Pericles (one of the last Shakespeares I hadn't seen - really good production)
- Fingersmith (Victorian gothic drama with a lesbian romance)

I would recommend OSF Ashland. The acting company is very solid now, the productions are always well done, and the town is fun and charming.

Definitely making me happy this week!
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
06 June 2015 @ 09:24 pm
in Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast fashion.

Two things this week:

- The DARPA Robotics Challenge finals. I had a good time. The competition itself was much more riveting than one would expect staring at a bunch of robots thinking would be. The expo area with boots was very good - a wide variety of items from robots to parts to educational items. I learned a lot and came away with some good items and ideas.

- William Shakespeare's Star Wars. A retelling of the three (original) Star Wars movies, in the style of Shakespearean plays. This isn't a hack job, this is a wonderful work by someone who loves Star Wars and loves Shakespeare and put a lot of effort and thought into it. It's well done, entertaining, funny, and both pays tribute to the original movies as well as adding something to the story (asides, fun references to events, etc). I'd love to see a staged reading of this at a con - I think the audience would really really enjoy it. Alas, I acquired it too late to nominate it for a Hugo but it would be a worthy nominee and winner in the Best Related Work category. Highly recommended.

Link at first book ("New Hope") at Powell's: http://www.powells.com/biblio/9781594746376

Link to entire trilogy at Powell's: http://www.powells.com/biblio/9781594747915

- yeff
Current Mood: tiredtired
03 June 2015 @ 07:29 am
What happened in May:
- Didn't get laid off in the big 15% cut at work. That was the source of some early May anxiety, and it's nice for it to be gone. Now I'm in the midst of "what do I want out of work, what are my interests, what do I want to work on?" and trying to align that with what's being planned for the future rounds of work projects.
- A little bit of writing on "Straw". It's going slow. I never realized you could have the "muddle in the middle" phase in a *short story*, but I appear to have hit it. Really, it's just a matter of making sure to carve out the time to get it done.
- Went to BayCon. It was an enjoyable time with some fun panels: Hugo neepery, Victorian-era speculative fiction, and when the robots take over. But I still felt like one of the youngest people at the con, and I wonder about the future of that slice of fandom and the cons they attend (see previous post).
- Went to Vegas for ARML (http://www.arml.com) as staff member and assistant coach to NorCal teams. Our A1 team won first place nationally, for the second time in the three years! Great work by the kids

What's coming in June:
- Dealing with whatever the hell has happened to my back and is causing me nasty hip flexor and back pain. I think it's a form of sciatica relating to the back strain I suffered 2-3 weeks ago. I need to rest, cycle, walk, and do my core exercises. Getting old(er) sucks.
- Attending DARPA Robotics Challenge Finals (http://www.theroboticschallenge.org/). Should be a great event, and will help give me plenty of brain fuel for Our Robot Future that I can leverage for both work and writing
- Go to Ashland for Oregon Shakespeare Festival for a week with the family. Always a nice relaxing time and the plays look great.
- Finish "Straw" and do a revision pass on it so that I can get it out for feedback. After that, I can start on "Nora" (which feels like it will be fun).
- Reading Hugo nominees and making my decision. Reading is important. Voting on the Hugos is important.


- yeff
Current Mood: ready for a vacation