The Ursula Vernon Story

So. You know, you go to a science fiction gathering, and there will be big names there. My roommate Michele had one major geek out moment with George R. R. Martin. She kept ramping up to get a picture and walking away without saying anything. At the third try, she finally asked. And my friend Lisa discovered we were standing behind folk singer Janis Ian on the way into the Hugos, and her fan chatter activated.

Even I can geek out, from time to time.

On the first day of the convention, there I was, walking through the dealer’s room, not minding my own business, but purchasing books, certainly, and gawking. As I turned, there it was, the Sofawolf Press booth.

Among the many delights in this year’s Hugo pack was the complete six volume set of Digger by Ursula Vernon, which did in fact go on to win the Hugo. I was elated. Digger was my favorite work from the pack this year. I devoured all six volumes as soon as I could, and I was sad there was not more. But, I did not own volumes of Digger. I wanted to support such a wonderful, creative endeavor.

Three guys were at the booth. One of them asked politely, “Can we interest you in some materials from Sofawolf Press?”

“Yes!” I said, punching the air with my fist. “You can fix me up with six volumes of Digger.”

“We can do that,” said the guy. The other two guys got out a black bag and some beautifully colored graphic novels. “And today, each volume is only twelve dollars.”

“Yes!” I said, hitting the table for emphasis. “Because it’s so wonderful and smart…”

And the guy punches the air, “…and sensitive and emotional….

And I pound again, for emphasis, “and touching and you learn so much in it. It’s sophisticated. It’s the best thing in the pack.”

The two other guys hand me a stuffed black bag full of wombat booty. I hand over my Mastercard. “Did you know Ursula is going to be here tomorrow?”

My eyebrows shoot to the ceiling. “When?”

He says, “We’ll have the schedule posted as soon as we know it.”

“Wonderful. I’ll be back.”

“Thank you.”

****

I ghosted the dealers room a little next day and discover that Urusla Vernon would be at the Sofawolf Press table by noon. And so, I raced backup to my room at the appointed time and picked up my wombat booty, and I stood in front of the incredibly talented Ursula Vernon, who can both WRITE and DRAW!

And while she interjected the occasional thank you, or comment, and wrote down no less than six autographs, and drew two Diggers in my books, I had a conversation that went something like this.

“OhthankyouthankyouforwritingDiggeritwasthebestthingintheHugopackohmyGodI
couldn’tbelievehowgooditwaswhatanamazingstoryIwassotouchedbyEdandhowdidyougettheideatoputGaneshinthereandthestoryisfantasticsmartfunnycleverwittyandcomplexyetitdealswithpureandsimplehumanemotionsIhopeitwinstheHugoohmyGod
goodluck.”

And then, around volume 5, my decorum sort of popped back in, and I apologized, thanked Ursula Vernon for the autograph, and walked away.

AND…if you want to see what could possibly make calm, cool, and collected me act like that, you should really read Digger. It is, after all, Hugo Award Winning.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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