Starred Kirkus Review for the 2018 Young Explorers Adventure Guide

The 2018 Young Explorers Adventure Guide is out on December 1, and it includes a story I wrote called “The Smell of Home”. The book is aimed at middle-grade readers and higher (essentially 12+ ears of age) and has a lot of fantastic stories about setting off on adventure.

The book was given a starred review by Kirkus.com, which is an Exciting Thing as they only star roughly 10% of their reviews.

I’d be lying if I said I thought my story was the reason we got the star, but I’m damned honored to have my work included in the anthology with so many fantastic stories.

I’ll make sure to post links when I get them!

Day 76: Hauling

Day 76:

We’ll call it Day 76 anyway. To be honest, the days here are so short I still haven’t adjusted to them, and since I spend a lot of time underground I can’t be sure that it’s been only one day since the last time I wrote.

I’ve mined a lot of ore and quality stone since the last time I wrote. I’m hungry. I’m covered in dirt. I’m listening to zombies growl above my head and spiders whistle in various places. I’m really really happy. This much granite in this condition could get me a ship of my own! Even just my cut could get me a ship of my own!

I’m not sure what I’d do with all this wealth, to be honest. I’m considering how to secure it above and beyond what I’ve been doing so far. I mean, sure, keeping the zombies out of my supplies is important, but I hadn’t really considered what would happen if someone other than The Company showed up to mine here. We’re not exactly the only company that mines deep space. If someone else decides to land here, I’ve made it whole lot easier for them to take my stuff without payment.

Ugh! I just want off this rock securely! And I’m working with literally iron-age supplies: no engines, no gunpowder…

Wait. I might be able to make bombs out of the explosive powder the giraffe corgis leave behind when they die.

Too many things to think about. Empty stomach. I should go eat something and sleep.

Watercolor of a wooden bowl filled with carrot soup and a piece of roasted white fish.
Breakfast, or dinner, or whatever you want to call it. It’s food!

Day 75: Harvest

Day 75:

I have hit a motherlode of stone – up near the surface, where I didn’t expect it. Granite, andesite, diorite, even iron ore and coal! It’ll probably take me a few days to get it all out of its location and hauled back to my storage area.

It’s been two months (a little more I guess) since I arrived, and I haven’t seen a single sign of The Company coming back for me, but I still get excited at the idea of what all this stone is worth. Absolutely pristine slabs of granite, bigger than a billiards table, and twice as thick!

I’m designing a hauling harness for Stupid and Dumb (the other horse) so that I can use them to drag these goods back to the storage area. I don’t want to break the granite up any more than possible, but it’s way too much for me to haul on my own.

Line drawing of a horse, with a harness that fastened across the chest, and across the small of the back, which would then hook to something on the ground to drag it like a sled. Labeled "Horse harness?"
This might work, or it might break their backs. I have no idea.

Day 74: Flood of a different type

Day 74:

Sometimes you dig a hole in the wrong place and the zombies pour in from above your head.

It’s raining, which means it’s dark out, which means the monsters are in full force outside.

I chased a vein of iron ore up to the surface, where I found six zombies, one skeleton, a pony spider, and a giraffe corgi waiting for me. Had I been lucky, the giraffe corgi would’ve blown up the others, but I was not. Everyone (except me) was eventually killed but I fear my iron sword may be beyond saving.

It’s a good thing I found all that iron so I could ruin my sword and need it.

I need a drink. I wonder how hard it is to distill my own alcohol without poisoning myself.

Watercolor sketch of one exploding giraffe corgi, one pony spider, six zombies, and one skeleton , aboveground in the rain. Below, the artist can be seen tunneling underneath them, oblivious to the fact that she's going to tunnel straight up into them.
Also a bad plan

Day 73: Maps!

Day 73:

I’m finding that I’m digging into a lot of my own support beams, because I haven’t been drawing maps.

I’m out of practice – it was something the laser mining tools did automatically as they harvested.

I’m also worried that I’ll run out of paper. This notebook’s a reasonable size, but I’m already 73 pages in. Plus, it’s hard enough to figure out how to map something on a fullscreen monitor – doing it on these dinky sheets of notebook paper is going to be painful.

I could try making my own paper, or hide.

I guess it’s time to consider doing that.

Line and watercolor of a notebook similar to a large Moleskine or other hardbound log, labeled "Mine log" on the cover, with a black band around it to keep it closed.
It’s a log for a mine, not a log for a person bad with pronouns.