the Little Red Reviewer

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A few days ago I started reading Let The Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist.  I’ve seen the both the Swedish and American film versions, so I already know the “twist”. But even so, this is a disturbingly creepy book!

let the right one in

Are you reading anything creepy this week?

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unseaming Mike AllenMike Allen is editor of the speculative poetry and short fiction magazine Mythic Delirium and the acclaimed Clockwork Phoenix anthology series, and author of The Black Fire Concerto and his newest short fiction collection Unseaming.  All around super talented guy and lover of all things creepy and scary, Mike was at the top of my list when I was looking for someone to guest post about the joys of  reading scary books at Halloween time. Luckily,  he wasn’t offended when I said “hey, you wanna write about creepy stuff?”.  That’s how you KNOW this guy loves horror.

 

Continue reading, if you dare!

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Building My Own Haunted House
by Mike Allen

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At my house, every day is Halloween.

Little Red asked me to wax a bit about the pleasures of reading scary stories on All Hallow’s Eve — something I realized I couldn’t truly do, because I read scary stories all year around. And write them, too.

Anita, my wife, is often creating art in a similarly opened vein. My home office is full of skulls and plush monsters. (As well as piles of papers and books.) Halloween is simply when Anita makes the exterior decor of our house match the interior. We’re well matched that way.

 

Mike Allen

 

 

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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

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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.

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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 random.org, 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:

Effie-Reaping-Bowl-The-Hunger-Games

 

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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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.