the Little Red Reviewer

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ursula vernon diggerDigger, Vol 1, by Ursula Vernon

published:  this volume was published in 2012, but the webcomic has been going since 2005.

where I got it:  purchased new










When I peruse the graphic novel section of my local comic shop, I’m not interested in 99% of what I see.  I walk by, and very little of it catches my eye. No offense superheroes and dark noir, but you’re just not my thing. Could be that local comic book owner guy is really into superhero stuff, and not so much into other stuff. Different strokes for different folks.


Lucky for me, I ran into a copy of Ursula Vernon’s Digger Vol 1 at a Half Price Books store.   Having no idea what the story was about, and not quite sure what the critter on the front cover was (She’s a wombat, by the way), I bought the graphic novel because Ursula Vernon’s name was on it.


A few quick items of business before I getting into the nitty gritty:  It won the Hugo (and multiple other awards) for a reason, and I really gotta introduce local comic shop owner guy to this series.  Graphic novels that don’t look that interesting got you down? Digger is the cure.


it's Digger!

it’s Digger!

First off, Digger isn’t a what, Digger is a she. She’s a wombat, and she does what wombats naturally do: She digs and burrows and explores.  She’s also intensely pragmatic and practical.  When a pocket of bad air causes her to tunnel through someone’s floor and into a space that is decidedly not home, she decided to explore. Because how else is she going to find her way home? Perhaps whoever she meets can help her find her way home.  She quickly meets a Statue of Ganesh who can talk, a Hyena like creature whose name has been eaten, a shadowchild who doesn’t know what he/she is, a helpful librarian, the Ganesh statue’s overly enthusiastic guard, and a prophetic snail.  The story almost has an Alice in Wonderland feeling, except this Alice is a practical, no-nonsense engineer Wombat.


Actual Wombat

Actual Wombat

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I don’t always share dog videos, but when I do, I prefer the share the hilarious ones.


Dear Kitten and Sad Cat Diaries is pretty funny too.


and the winner of the autographed Jim C. Hines’ Libriomancer is…..  drumroll please!


Cathy in PA!


Congratulations Cathy, please watch your e-mail from a message from me, hopefully your spam filter doesn’t send everything with the word “winner!” in the subject like to the spam filter.


I’m also over at SFSignal today, drooling over some upcoming releases that are On My Radar, and chatting with the fascinating Joshua Palmatier.


Also, going dark for a few days. But for a good reason! Tomorrow at the crack of dawn I’m driving down to Columbus for Context.  You can follow all the action on their twitter feed. On Saturday I’ll not only be moderating a panel for the first time, but I’ll be on a panel for the first time. This is all happening at the same panel, folks. Could be messy. But I have an awesome hat to wear, so there’s that.

See everyone next week!

drumroll please!

it’s time to announce the winners of my Blind Date with A  Book Give Away!!   This was a little more complicated than just putting everyone’s name into, so I went all old school on ya’ll, and literally drew names out of hats plastic containers.

What I’m always afraid pulling names out of hats fishbowls will look like:



What it really looked like:

2014-09-01 09.44.19

And then I did it four more times.  It was surprisingly fun!   Click through for all the winningness.  :D

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I’m about to close up a very successful give away (you should totally go check it out!). Doing giveaways can be very daunting, it’s like baking bread. You do the kneading, you sit around while it rises, you’re pretty sure you measured everything right, it looks good when it comes out of the oven, but you have no way of knowing if it’s a success until you rip off that first piece and pop it, still steaming, in your mouth. Good bread, or bland over cooked bread?

cut bread

Looks good so far.. . .

My first give away was a disaster, I don’t think I got a single entry. Worst. Loaf of Bread. EVER. Here are some tips, and things I’ve learned along the way about how to make your book give aways successful. Because I like sharing. And giveaways are actually very fun!


The Why, the What,  and the How

Why should you do a give away?

  • A publisher is offering you a giveaway copy of a book you enjoyed/want to promote
  • You have duplicate copies
  • You have a bunch of ARCs that are sitting around
  • You want this book to get into the hands of another fan.

A few tips on writing a great GiveAway blog post:

  • Put the word “give away” in the post title. You want people skimming their readers, or Feedly, or whatever to see right away that there is a give away involved.
  • Show the cover art of the book. Put in the blurb that’s on the back of the book. If you reviewed the book, link to your review. Link to the author’s website if you want.
  • author blurbTalk up the book! What subgenre is it? Who might like it? Is it being advertised as similar to Game of Thrones, or the Sookie Stackhouse books, or satire or horror, or something else? Scalzi or someone else really cool blurb it?
  • If you didn’t read it, or don’t plan to, it never hurts to link to or quote some positive reviews of the book. Again, you are trying to build excitement.

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Stuff. I’ve been up to it lately.

In the pages of Apex Magazine I interviewed author John Moran about his haunting story “The Sandbirds of Mirelle”

And hey, if you’re a subscriber, that issue has an excerpt from Zombies and Calculus, to which i say shut up and take my money.

Over at SFSignal I reviewed Wolfsbane, the third book in Gillian Philip’s fantastically fun (and addictive!) Rebel Angels series.

I made pickled daikon radish. They were crunchy and delicious,  but omg, that stench. It could srsly knock a person down.

2014-08-07 21.33.40

Yesterday I picked my first ripe tomato off my tomato plant. There is tomato basil cheesy bread in my future! Tomatoes are late this year because my plant didn’t get enough sun.

I finished reading Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey and the Kaleidoscope anthology edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Ross. Hoping to have time to work on reviews this weekend.

And I signed up for SciFi November!  Last year the fabulous Rinn of Rinn Reads organized the massive insanity known a SciFi November. This year, because she values her sanity, she recruited the ladies from Oh The Books! to help run the shindig. So, yeah, you should go over there and check it out. And sign up to do cool stuff. Because, like, it’s fun. and cool.

2014-08-04 19.59.32

Yes, I just turned “River Song” into a verb.  and you can to!  In fact, you probably already have.


Has this ever happened to you?  You’re innocently surfing the interwebs, skimming through your twitter or tumblr feed, when you hit on an article, or story published online, or podcast. You read, comment, download, and then realize the article/story/podcast/cartoon was from two years ago.   But time has gone all wibbly-wobby, this is happening *right now* for you, so who cares that the information is at least a year old? So you e-mail or FB or tweet the person, letting them know how much you enjoyed the post/podcast/etc. You gracefully (or not) imply how much you are looking forward to their future work. You hope you don’t sound too stalker-ish.


If it was a face to face conversation, they might be looking at you a little funny.  The enjoyment of whatever it was, it’s your present, or your very recent past (like, yesterday).  But for them, it’s been months or even years since they even thought about how much that podcast was a pain to edit, or what their inspiration was for that blog post. It takes them a second to remember the specific whatever that you’re talking about, and then a smile comes across their face.


Your present is their past. in fact, your future is also their past, because you’ve got an entire season of podcasts to catch up on.


You’ve just River Songed them.
And because the person is very polite, they will patiently wait for you to catch up. To do anything else would  make it painfully obvious to you how far apart your time lines are. it would be impolite. it would give spoilers.
And spoilers wouldn’t be fun for anyone, would they?

river song spoilers

2014 Hugo Awards

I reviewed some Hugo nominated stuff. Click here for the list.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.