Book Event

Tonight, I got to listen to a panel between June Hur, Kristin Dwyer, and Axie Oh to celebrate Susan Lee’s debut Seoulmates.

It was cute how all four of them gushed over K-dramas. It was also funny that Susan Lee admitted that how she writes stories is by following the beats of K-dramas and if she gets stuck, going back to the episodic beats. She said because of that she feels like she is writing fan fic.

It was interesting to hear Susan Lee and the others talk about how most times they get too much in their heads with worry about if what they are writing is too risky and unrealistic, but then they remember that they are writing K-dramas.

When they asked Susan Lee what K-Drama she wished she had written, she said What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim because it is a great example of being formulaic.

Something I learned from this was that K-dramas were usually formulaic, but now are staring to lose their way because episodes will be added as they film after they see how popular they are and what they need to add or not. So, because of that, it takes away from the formulaic feeing that used to let watchers know what they were getting. Now a lot of it feels added on or stitched together.

Let Me Fall for You

Let me fall for your duet

Let it make me complete

Let your words fill my lonely

Let joy be released

Let the sing-song pattern soar

Let it fill the open sky

Let your song be something heavenly

Let it bring me back to life

Book Event

Got to attend an event hosted by Oxford Exchange Bookstore discussing Elektra by Jennifer Saint.

What was really cool about this group tonight was that we had some more persistent readers of Greek stories who knew a lot of the character and we had some that did not. I am one of the people who does not know that much about the past stories, so I learned a lot of interesting things during this discussion. Like how Greek stories revolve around tragedy, death, and unfairness all the time. What left me feeling unsatisfied and hollow in parts when it came to what I saw as unnecessary deaths, the others that were more versed saw that those deaths fit the theme in different ways.

As someone who does not know much, it was cool following the story as a story and experiencing new things. It was also fun talking about why we sympathized or did not with some of the characters. It was also interesting that not many were fans of the first-person-point of view for the three different characters and felt a little distant from the story.

We all decided though that this was not a feminist book, just in the point of view of three women. We discussed a couple tweaks that would have made it a feminist book, which was one of the most fun discussions of the night.

I loved and appreciated everyone’s different view coming from different paths of reading when talking about this book.

Book Event

Had a panel event this evening with Brookline Brooksmith presenting three incredible authors. The authors were Ayana Gray who has written Beasts of Prey, Kalynn Bayron who has written Cinderella is Dead and This Poison Heart, and Namina Forna who wrote The Gilded Ones. All three have sequels out or sequels that are coming out soon.

Ayana Gray described during this event how she had a harder time writing her second book than her first because of the deadline. Trying to promote while writing the second book with a deadline, had cramped her style, but what did make some parts easier was having a world already built and a magic system.

Ayana Gray said that she loves writing fantasy because she loves reading fantasy to learn from and escape into, so she loves providing that for others. She also loves tackling and thinking about the idea of fatalism in her books.

Kalynn Bayron said that when it came to her first book This Poison Heart becoming a duology, it was because she had let the story take her where it needed to go. She had wanted it to be a standalone, but it did not work out that way. She said that drafting the second book called This Wicked Fate was a challenge, but she had fun. She wanted to make it compelling and she believes that she did.

The reason why Kalynn writes fantasy is because it has a potential for the fantastical. She loves how her recent books are set in a real place with an undercurrent of the fantastical so that she can use pop-culture references. She has found that in her writing, she has the theme of destiny in all her books. She believes it is because of something she is working through personally as an author. A wall she keeps encountering in her own life when trying to find information about things like her family and past that should be simple to find, but is not simple for her since she is a black woman living in America and grew up in the deep south.

Namina Forna’s sequel took a lot out of her, but with how the book has been resonating with the readers, she says that it was worth it, although she would rather do standalones from now on. How she typically likes to write is by starting with a one-page quick story, then diving into a year of research, doing an outline after that year, and then starting on writing out the pages.

Namina Forna loves to write fantasy because she is a fantasy lover herself. When it comes to fantasy, she has no standards. She loves just about anything fantasy. She also loves how while writing fantasy, real-life issues can be tackled in them making it easier for those issues to be related to. The reason she wrote The Gilded Ones’s world the way she did was because she wanted to make an Africa that is true. She is an immigrant that came to America when she was nine years old and hates all the lies that are told about the amazing country.

One of my favorite answers to one of the questions was Namina Forna’s answer to what would happen if your main characters were put in a rom-com. She said that it would not matter if it was at the beginning or end of her main character’s development, her main character would think she was in hell if she was placed in a rom-com.

Thank you so much Brookline Brooksmith for your support and this panel!

Hallucination of Lies

Your smile works like a charm. A charm full of magick as it dangles in front of me drawing me in. I float in the possibility of us, stuck in a dream. Until that dream shatters around me the moment you are gone. Realizing you were only a vision, a hallucination of lies, I find a mirror and remind myself that there once was a me without you. And I will find that me again.

Book Event

Had an interesting conversation with Oxford Exchange Bookstore about The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. The Atlas Six is a huge conversation starter for many reasons including plot, mechanics, story, characters, morals, and theme, so the conversation was a long and full one.

It was interesting diving into everyone’s favorite character when there were so many. But everyone’s favorite was mostly the same, except for a couple people had different answers. Most people loved Reina. Everyone also was in agreement that they believed Parisa was the author’s favorite character.

Almost everyone had the same take on the ending and are waiting until the next book to have some questions answered and things explained. The ending though threw some for a loop, while for one other they had guessed the twists right away.

One of the most interesting conversations we had was about gate keeping knowledge. We voted that gate keeping should not be allowed because then people would also have the knowledge to protect themselves if they needed to and knowledge is for all.

Everyone liked this book and the cool ideas it brought with it. I know I am excited to read the second one.

Book Event

I got to attend what felt like an exclusive event last night with Mysterious Galaxy interviewing Ben Riggs on his debut novel Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons which is releasing today. This was such a fun and interesting conversation to listen to full of secrets and D&D talk.

Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons and Dragons is about the TSR company that rocketed Dungeons and Dragons to its success. It dives deep into why TSR started failing as a company and what happened for Wizards to buy the company. Riggs highlights many interviews in his work and mentions if he was told two different stories about one incident to make sure that he tells everyone’s story. Tom Thurman who was the person during this event interviewing Rigg described the book with high praise saying that it was not dry but very readable and that Riggs’s personality shines through.

I found Riggs to have a fun and quirky personality. He mentions that he could not interview Lorraine Williams because she refused. (Lorraine Williams was in control of TSR when it had failed). But he showed his optimism during this event that she may reach out to him and want to be interviewed because he had beautiful art of her made in his book. He did interview her brother though along with 50 plus others.

Riggs mentioned multiple times that he knows his success is all thanks to luck and timing. D&D is the most popular it has ever been in history. Stranger Things has been a help with that. He laughed and said that he did a local interview in his newspaper about his book and they did not put his picture on the article, but instead put Eddie’s picture from Stranger Things, which he is proud of. His favorite edition of D&D is the 2nd edition because that was the first one that he played and he sees the game as a cultural artifact.

Ben Riggs apparently has a podcast called Plot Points that has been up and running since 2013 where he takes a deep dive into role playing games including the influence and origins of those games. He was such a kind, gentle, and respectful person to listen to during this interview. Anyone could tell how deeply he cares about people and about games in general and how certain games have impacted culture.

I loved how much Riggs showed his love for creative geniuses in during this event and how much information he gave to everyone. I am excited to get his book and read his words. Thank you, Mysterious Galaxy for hosting him!