NaNoBlogMo, Day 9 – City of Books

Last night, @jillwebb and I attended a book release party for Jade City, the latest novel from @FondaJLee. It’s The Godfather with magic and martial arts, set in an Asia-inspired world. Fonda has previously written two YA sci-fi novels (I’ve read and quite enjoyed Zeroboxer, and I look forward to reading Exo).

I went to the release party for Exo as well, just a few days after I arrived in the Portland area. Fonda’s events / readings are always particularly interesting to me because she likes to talk about her process. She gives presentations showing how the book evolved from an idea to a complete story and a finished world, and she does so in an entertaining and engaging manner. As a writer myself, I enjoy seeing the construction and evolution from a few pen strokes to an entire mythos.

Fonda guiding us through her new universe. Photo credit @curtiscchen

“City of Books” is the tagline for Powell’s, the famous city-block-wide bookstore here in Portland, but I think it also can refer to Portland itself. In the 10 months I’ve lived here, I’ve seen a number of authors read from their work, both at Powell’s and Barnes & Noble (including Ryan North, whom I’ve wanted to meet since Dinosaur Comics).

North also currently writes The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, perhaps my favorite Marvel title.

Off the top of my head: there’s also regular readings hosted by our local Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America branch, readings held at several indie bookshops, and at least one convention dedicated to sci-fi and fantasy writing.**

**Orycon was the reason I initially visited Portland back in 2014. I returned the following year, and the workshops I took were the primary inspiration for me to begin writing again. There’s a very strong writing community in this city; most of the authors who attend the con are local.

SWFA hosted an event last week and has another next week. John Hodgman was interviewed by Matt Fraction a few days ago, which I’ve written about elsewhere. Fonda’s reading was last night, and those are just the events that appeared in front of my face without any effort.

This was something I craved in Upstate New York and never had. I’m grateful, City of Books.

Actual photo of me in Powell’s.

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